Planning a study? Get it registered

Latest research that’s relevant to physios.  Physiotherapy editor Michele Harms presents the new issue and Janet Wright looks at stroke.


Do you need to register your trial on a recognised clinical trials registry?

As a matter of good practice, many journals now require authors to provide a registration number which is published alongside the abstract, in order to confirm that their study has been registered appropriately.

The Editorial in the September issue of Physiotherapy provides details of when a study requires registration and how to go about registering a trial. This is also becoming more common for systematic reviews and other non-experimental designs.
Harms M. Clinical trial registration. Physiotherapy 2011; 97: 81

Walk this way

Professor Richard Bohannon from the University of Connecticut and Williams Andrews report a meta-analysis of 41 articles which include data from 23,111 subjects.

They provide reference data on normal gait speed for healthy individuals within age and gender groupings. The data is useful clinically to provide a standard against which individuals can be compared and for reference values for future research.

The authors report that average walking speeds ranged from 143 cm/second for men aged 40 to 49 years to 94 cm/second for women aged 80 to 99 years.

Bohannon RW, Andrews WA. Normal walking speed: a descriptive meta-analysis Physiotherapy 2011; 97: 182–189


Persevering with pelvic floor exercises

Another paper tackles responses to the significant incidence of urinary incontinence, flatus and anal incontinence following childbirth. Kari Bø and Lene Haakstad undertook a randomised controlled trial to see whether pelvic floor muscle training is effective when taught in a general fitness class during pregnancy.

Although the study recruited more than 100 participants, the authors report issues with adherence and conclude that there is a need for adherence strategies to enhance motivation for regular participation in such fitness classes.

Bø K, Haakstad LAH. Is pelvic floor muscle training effective when taught in a general fitness class in pregnancy? Physiotherapy 2011; 97: 190–195


It’s a miracle

Researchers from the University of Warwick and Imperial College London report on a study of people recruited from the UK Back Skills Training (BeST) trial.

They explored whether people with low back pain could provide an insight into the most relevant aspects of their experience by answering one simple query: the Adapted Miracle Question (AMQ). Participants were asked ‘What would you do if you did not have back pain?’

The researchers believe the question may have potential for use in clinical practice for tailoring treatment plans, and for initiating a process of reflection and therapeutic advance for people with low back pain’.

Nichols VP, Griffiths FE, McCarthy CJ, Lamb SE. Exploring the use of the ‘Adapted Miracle Question’ in the assessment of low back pain. Physiotherapy 2011; 97: 203-208.

Physiotherapy 2011; 97 (3), September 2011.

Antidepressants linked with risk of stroke

Women with depression are at ‘moderately increased’ risk of a stroke, especially if they take antidepressants, according to a large US study.

An Pan and colleagues, of the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Bari in Italy, followed up 80,574 women from 2000 to 2006. The women, aged 54-79, were all participants in the vast US Nurses’ Health Study.

None had a history of stroke. But 22 per cent had depression, as defined by either taking antidepressants, having a diagnosis or meeting the relevant score on a mental health test.

The study, published in the journal Stroke, compared these women with a control group who were not depressed.

Women with a diagnosis of depression or a score of MHI-5 on the Mental Health Index had a 39 per cent higher risk of stroke – but only if they had a history of antidepressant use. If they didn’t take antidepressants their risk was no higher than the controls’.

Those who took antidepressants but didn’t have either a diagnosis or a score of MHI-5 were 31 per cent more at risk of stroke than the controls.

Women who were currently depressed were at greater risk than those who had no history of either depression or antidepressant use. But those who weren’t depressed at the time of questioning, despite having been depressed in the past, had no increased risk of stroke.
A Pan et al. ‘Depression and Incident Stroke in Women’ doi: 10.1161/ STROKEAHA.111.617043

Janet Wright

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