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New NIA Senior Walk Study

November 5th, 2009 by Sharon O'Hara

The National Institute on Aging wondered ‘What Can Prevent Walking Disability in Older People’ and awarded $29.5 million to the University of Florida’s Institute on Aging to find out.

To be a part of such a study is the greatest opportunity for us…person, patient or senior to be a part of something important for future generations, meet the most amazing people and have fun at the same time…such as the University of Washington’s Shortness of Breath Study https://www.managesob.org/RS/StudyII/

Unfortunately, our own close-by University of Washington in Seattle isn’t one of the eight sites for the study but for those seniors close enough to one of the sites of the new “Lifestyle” – get your feet wet and get involved. I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of two COPD studies and can’t recommend them highly enough.

This six year “Interventions and Independence of Elders “(LIFE) study involves about 200 people, from 70 to 89 years at each of the eight sites around the nation.

I hope those of us who get involved will keep us posted when you can… the results of the study will help millions of future seniors maintain a quality of life and save future taxpayer dollars in health care.

“There is a lot of evidence indicating that exercise can help in preventing diseases, such as diabetes, among older people. But we do not know whether and how a specific regimen might prevent walking disability in older people who are at risk of losing mobility,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D.

“This research is critically important at a time when the population is aging and new interventions should be sought to keep people healthy and functioning in the community longer.””

“At eight sites around the country, LIFE will involve 1,600 people aged 70 to 89, who at the start of the study meet its criteria for risk of walking disability, defined as the inability to walk a quarter of a mile or four blocks.

About 200 participants will be enrolled at each of the study sites, which include the University of Florida; the University of Pittsburgh; Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago; Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.; Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.; Yale University in New Haven, Conn.; Tufts University in Boston and Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. Wake Forest will also coordinate the data management and analysis.”

“Limitations in walking ability compromise independence and contribute to the need for assistive care,” said Evan C. Hadley, M.D., director of NIA’s Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, whose program is overseeing the trial. “Older people with impaired walking are less likely to remain in the community, have higher rates of certain diseases and death, and experience a poorer quality of life. A successful intervention might help prevent these bad outcomes.”

“We know that many older people have chronic health problems that affect their ability to walk,” said Jack Guralnik, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the NIA’s Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry and co-principal investigator of the study. “Arthritis, muscle weakness and poor balance can all affect how well and how far a person can walk. And, some older people have all of these problems. We will test the LIFE intervention in this population to see how it works in a real-world setting.”

Study participants will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group will follow a structured intervention consisting of walking at moderate intensity, stretching, balance and lower extremity strength training; the control group will participate in a health education program. The participants will be followed for about three years.

Researchers will evaluate whether, compared to health education, the physical activity intervention reduces the risk of major walking disability, serious fall injuries and disability in activities of daily living, and whether it improves cognitive function. They will also assess the cost-effectiveness of the intervention.

“This will be the largest randomized controlled trial to prevent major mobility disability ever conducted in older persons who are at high risk of losing their physical independence,” said Marco Pahor, M.D., director of the University of Florida’s Institute on Aging and study principal investigator. “Typically, this population is excluded from large trials, and from this perspective the LIFE study is unique.”

The NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social and behavioral issues of older people.

For more information on research and aging, go to www.nia.nih.gov.

The NIH — the nation’s medical research agency — includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.

For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.”

More later…Sharon O’Hara

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3 Responses to “New NIA Senior Walk Study”

  1. Online Arts, Design & Humanities Degrees Says:

    Thanks for the information. There seems to be a never ending supply of great information on the net. I love learning new stuff, and will be back to read your posts regularly !! Thanks again

  2. judy holder Says:

    Hi saw pics of a hase with electric front hub assist. I have a Hase keitwiesel and want to add electric assist. I am on East coast and need someone to add the assist or guide me. Also what brand kit , volts etc. I really need this for hills etc, have bilateral hip replacements. I need to be able to store bike upright if possible. Can you help?
    thank you
    Judy

  3. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    Hi Judy … Mine is a Hase Lepus, electric assist and two batteries…supposedly I can go 40 – 50 miles with it but haven’t tried it – yet. We’re surrounded here by steep hills too.

    I’ve managed to get on a couple of times but have yet to ride it. My bone on bone, left hip has been coddled too long and I’m in the process of uncoddling it by building the muscling around it. A goal is to ride the Lepus over to the University of Washington Medical Center for my next pulmonary appointment.

    http://www.hasebikes.com should have a list of dealers close to you.

    The only one I’ve spoken with and wouldn’t hesitate getting to install what you need on the east coast is Peter Stull http://www.bicycleman.com/contact_bicycleman.htm

    Peter was helpful when I contacted him about getting a recumbent trike to use on a New York/Washington D.C. trip I made a few years ago. I wanted the trike instead of a wheelchair so I could keep up with everyone else. It didn’t work out but he clearly knows his recumbent trikes and no doubt, electric assists.

    Here is another look at the Lupus with the electric assist. The man aboard her has Hip Dysplasia

    http://pugetsoundblogs.com/copd-and-other-stuff/2010/08/17/recumbent-trikes-and-good-health-hand-in-hand/

    I hope this helped… Sharon

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This is a patient to patient blog to exchange information and resources...from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) to Arthritis to Cellulites to Sarcoidosis to Sleep Apnea to RLS to Psoriasis to Support Groups to Caregivers and all points in between. Written by Sharon O'Hara.

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