In a study of self-rated health (SRH) published this month in the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, Cathy Lysack, Ph.D., deputy director of WSU's Institute of Gerontology, along with former Wayne State researcher Katerina Machacova, Ph.D., and Stewart Neufeld, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Institute of Gerontology, evaluated people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) in an effort to better understand the relationship between their self-rated physical ability to perform necessary daily activities and their SRH — the way people perceive their own health.
The study of 140 men and women with SCI found that self-rated physical ability topped injury severity as a determining factor of SRH, which may be surprising to the nondisabled.
"Many nondisabled people would think a person with SCI — confined to a wheelchair, paralyzed, etc. — would have very low ratings of health," said Lysack, an occupational therapist. "But we did not find that. A person with a disability is certainly limited in many ways, but just because they are disabled does not mean they feel their health is poor. This is important because health and disability are not the same thing. You can be living with a disability and still be in very good or even excellent health."
Lysack said the study also is important because the wider scientific literature, most of which comes from studies in aging, indicates SRH is a powerful predictor of other outcomes, including mortality. Prior to this study, few had examined SRH in the context of people with disabilities, so it simply is not known whether this principal holds for people with disabilities too.
The study findings have implications for those who develop instruments to assess physical functioning in older adults and people with disabilities.
"We actually use a lot of the same assessments of physical capacity for those groups as we do for a healthy older person," Lysack said, "and they don't fit particularly well." According to Lysack, assessment tools that are not developed for use with people with disabilities may yield misleading results. There also are many different kinds of disabilities and new instruments will need to be sensitive to that.
Further research also is needed, Lysack said, to determine if a relationship between physical capacities of people is related to SRH in those with spinal cord injury in the same way as it may be for people with Parkinson's disease, a stroke, a hip fracture, vision impairments and many other types of disabilities.
"We simply do not know how the ability to do things is related to SRH in these groups, and how, if it all, SRH predicts other serious outcomes," she said. Ultimately such studies need to be done, and soon, Lysack said, to determine if SRH and self-rated physical ability are a sort of "early warning system" or predictor of future functional decline.
That seems to be true for aging, she said, and if so, SRH and self-rated physical ability become very useful tools in clinical practice.
"If rehabilitation professionals can use these questions to identify people who are at risk for losing their functional independence, then there is a chance to intercede with targeted interventions to prevent or at least forestall the decline," Lysack said.
Wayne State University is one of the nation's preeminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.
Julie O'Connor | EurekAlert!
Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences