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Fixin' Healthcare

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - High Tech Machine

The Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) is used to assess physical capability of senior citizens. People with lower scores are more likely to die earlier, have health problems, be institutionalized and have limited mobility. Even a small difference of a half point on the SPPB scale of 0 to 12 represents greater or less ability of an elderly person being able to perform the tasks of daily living , such as walking across the room, bathing and dressing. A score of 0 to 4 is a strong risk factor for disability and death.

A study reported at the Gerontological Society of America meeting in Dallas and appearing in the November issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences demonstrates that structured physical activity improves SPPB scores for people ages 70 to 89 years who had been previously sedentary.. The physical activity consisted of walking at a moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes weekly, leg stretches, balance exercises and leg strengthening exercises. A control group was given instructions on good nutrition, proper use of medications, foot care and preventive services. The physical function of both groups was tested before the intervention and twice during the one year intervention.

The structured physical activity was shown to be safe for elderly people at high risk of becoming disabled. Participants in the structured physical activity group increased their SPPB score from a baseline average of 7.5 to 8.5 , whereas many participants in the control group experienced a decline in their score. And, the structured physical activity group outperformed the control group in the ability to walk 400 meters.

The human body is high tech biology. This study demonstrates the need to rethink health and health care in a manner to utilize the remarkable capabilities of the human body. These capabilities have been underestimated and misunderstood.

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