A brave woman. A devoted husband. And the result of dedicated therapists who helped Mrs. Giffords rebuild her life through passionate and effective physical medicine and rehabilitation!
In January 2011, US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head in an attack on her entourage at a constituent meeting near Tucson. Six people died and thirteen others were injured. She survived, and her recovery has been a remarkable story. At TED2014 she took the stage with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, for a Q&A with the head of the Paley Center for Media, Pat Mitchell. Giffords suffered from aphasia as part of her injury, and speaking is still difficult, so her answers were short, and much of the speaking was done by Kelly. This is an edited set of highlights from that Q&A.
Pat Mitchell: Has your recovery been an effort to create a new Gabby Giffords or reclaim the old?
Gabby Giffords: A new one, better, stronger, tougher.
What’s the hardest…
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Movers and thinkers. Awesome.
Our world is constantly changing, and it is bold ideas that push this forward. Our speakers in this session are all big thinkers who are working to reshape the ways we see, think about, and interact with the world, from the mind behind some of your favorite fonts to an urban planner transforming New York City’s landscape.
Here are the speakers who will appear in this session:
As a type designer Matthew Carter has watched our words move from the physical to the digital. You may recognize his work — he’s designed the fonts Verdana, Georgia, and Tahoma.
Bob Greenberg returns to the TED stage to talk about the evolution of motion graphics.
While New York City’s chief urban planner, Amanda Burden revitalized the Brooklyn waterfront, and was a champion for The High Line — an abandoned elevated railway line turned park.
David Kwong writes the New York Times crossword…
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Higher Levels of Omega 3 Tied to Better Sleep in Kids
By TRACI PEDERSEN Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 11, 2014
In a new Oxford study, children who took omega-3 DHA supplements for 16 weeks started sleeping nearly an hour longer each night and had fewer waking episodes.
The two-phased study analyzed the sleep of 362 healthy UK school children (ages seven to nine) in relation to their blood levels of omega-3 and omega-6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA).
The child participants were not chosen for sleep problems, but rather because they were struggling readers at a mainstream primary school. Previous research has shown an association between poor sleep and low blood omega-3 LC-PUFA in infants and in children and adults with behavior or learning difficulties.
This is the first study to investigate the links between sleep and fatty acid status in healthy children.
At the beginning of the study, parents filled out a sleep questionnaire, which revealed that four in 10 of the children in the study had clinical-level sleep problems, such as resistance to bedtime, anxiety about sleep and constant waking in the course of the night. Researchers then placed wrist sensors on 43 of the children with poor sleep in order to monitor their movements in bed over five nights.
“To find clinical level sleep problems in four in 10 of this general population sample is a cause for concern,” said lead author Paul Montgomery, Ph.D., of Oxford University.
“Various substances made within the body from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have long been known to play key roles in the regulation of sleep. For example, lower ratios of DHA have been linked with lower levels of melatonin, and that would fit with our finding that sleep problems are greater in children with lower levels of DHA in their blood.”
The findings showed that the children put on a course of 600 mg supplements of omega-3 (algal sources) had nearly one hour (58 minutes) more sleep and seven fewer waking episodes per night compared with the children taking the corn or soybean placebo.
Higher blood levels of the long-chain omega-3 DHA (the main omega-3 fatty acid found in the brain) were significantly associated with better sleep, including less bedtime resistance, parasomnias, and total sleep disturbance.
Also, higher ratios of DHA in relation to the long-chain omega-6 fatty acid AA (arachidonic acid) were also associated with fewer sleep problems.
“Previous studies we have published showed that blood levels of omega-3 DHA in this general population sample of seven to nine-year-olds were alarmingly low overall, and this could be directly related to the children’s behavior and learning,” said co-investigator Dr. Alex Richardson of Oxford University. “Poor sleep could well help to explain some of those associations.”
“Further research is needed given the small number of children involved in the pilot study. Larger studies using objective sleep measures, such as further actigraphy using wrist sensors, are clearly warranted. However, this randomized controlled trial does suggest that children’s sleep can be improved by DHA supplements and indicates yet another benefit of higher levels of omega-3 in the diet.”
Today, about 50 million Americans, or 1 in 5 people, are living with at least one disability, and most Americans will experience a disability some time during the course of their lives. Anyone can have a disability.
People with disabilities face many barriers to good health. Studies show that individuals with disabilities are more likely than people without disabilities to report:
Having poorer overall health.
Having less access to adequate health care.
Having no access to health insurance.
Skipping medical care because cost.
Engaging in risky health behaviors, including smoking and physical inactivity.
People with disabilities can lead long healthy lives. Many can and do go to school and attend places of worship. They also vote, marry, have children, work, and play. Having a disability does not mean a person can’t be healthy.
People with or without disabilities can stay healthy by having health care access and living healthy lifestyles.
To be healthy, people with disabilities require health care that meets their needs as a whole person, not just as a person with a disability.
Learn What You Can Do
Get the best possible healthcare
Get Tips on leading a healthy life and for getting physically fit.
Improve the health and wellness of people with disabilities
Person with Disability:
Make Sure You are Getting the Best Possible Healthcare
There are also many things you can do to make sure you are getting the best possible health care:
Know your body, how you feel when you’re well and when you’re not.
Get regular preventive screenings (e.g., mammograms, prostate, colorectal)
Talk openly with your health care professional about your concerns.
Find out who the best health care professionals are in your area to meet your needs.
Check to be sure you can get into your health care professional’s office and that he or she has the staff and equipment you need.
Think through your concerns before you visit your health care professional.
Bring your health records with you.
Take a friend with you, if you’re concerned you might not remember all your questions and all the answers.
Get it in writing. Write down, or have someone write down for you, what is said by the health care professional.
Ask for help finding more information through materials like brochures, or at specific Web pages on the Internet.
Tips for Leading a Long and Healthy Life
Children and adults with disabilities are less likely to be of healthy weight and more likely to be obese than children and adults without disabilities.
Overweight and obesity can have serious health consequences for all people. Learn more…
Eat healthy foods in healthy portions.
Be physically active every day.
Don’t get too much sun.
Get regular checkups.
Don’t smoke or use illegal drugs.
Use medicines wisely.
If you drink alcohol, drink it in moderation.
Stay in touch with family and friends.
If you need help, talk with your healthcare professional.
Tips for Getting Physically Fit
To be healthy, all adults should be physically active 30 minutes a day at least 5 days each week; all children should be active for 60 minutes a day, at least 5 days each week.
Set physical activity goals that you can reach.
Track what you do.
Reward yourself when you meet your goals.
Seek support from your friends and family members. Ask them to join you in your activities.
Don’t give up. If you miss a day, don’t quit. Just start again.
For more tips and information on disability and health, you can read The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities: What It Means to You. Also called the “People’s Piece,” it provides helpful ways to improve everyone’s knowledge about the health and wellness of people with disabilities
Improve the Health and Wellness of People with Disabilities
Health Care Provider:
You can do a lot to improve the health and wellness of people with disabilities. For instance, you can:
Video: Mark’s Story
This video tells the story of Mark and his role as a person helping future health care providers improve their care of people with disabilities. The intent of this video is not to endorse specific activities, but to share one man’s story, experience, and hope.
Address the medical needs of the whole person, not just the disability.
Be as attentive to concerns of pain, depression, job pressures, smoking and alcohol use as you are with all patients.
Be aware and patient of the extra time it might take a person with a disability to speak or act.
Recommend and monitor clinical preventive services as closely as will other patients.
Know that the facilities you refer patients to for preventive screenings (e.g., mammograms) are accessible.
Ensure that your facility is fully accessible (e.g., parking, exam tables, restrooms, etc).
Ask the person with a disability if he or she needs any help. Do not assume help is needed.
Understand that not having access to work, school, health care, or fun things to do can cause more problems than a disability itself.
Seek training on disability competence for health professionals.
Disability & Health – CDC
Physical Activity and Disability
The Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 2010 (US Department of Health and Human Services)
Office on Disability (US Department of Health and Human Services)
20th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act
Healthy Living – CDC
Health Care: See Why Being Insured Matters
CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats to have a more secure nation. A US federal agency, CDC helps make the healthy choice the easy choice by putting science and prevention into action. CDC works to help people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss
Published: Oct 12, 2012 (Revised: Oct 12, 2012)
Abstract: Article examines living with and helping a loved one cope and deal with severe pain levels.
Detail: People do not like to observe the person they love experiencing pain, a simple fact. It is a natural response to the person we are closest to in life as well as family members, friends, and others we care about. The happiness we have in life is tied to theirs and when the person we love is experiencing pain, we feel emotional pain along with them. When they smile we are happy and when they cry we cry along with them. A laugh from the person we love brings a laugh from us as well. Love is one of the strongest emotional ties a person can have for another; it is one of the strongest bonds one person can feel for another person.
A common reaction on the part of many people in a relationship to their loved one’s experience of chronic pain is a desire to spare their loved one their pain or level of suffering. For example; a parent might be hesitant to let their children make the mistakes they need to in order to learn and grow because making the mistakes may hurt, either physically or emotionally. People who are in love with each other might become upset when the person they love has done something that risked an injury or form of harm – whether it was necessary or not. Friends want to help each other feel better after they have been physically or emotionally hurt. The reactions described are not only common; they are many times a good thing. Love means looking out for one another and helping each other by being there for each other.
When the Reaction Takes the Wrong Direction
At times, the reaction to be there for others who experience chronic or other forms of pain can take a wrong direction. Ask yourself what you do when the person you love is always in pain. What do you do with the emotional reactions you have to the experience of pain on the part of the person you love when you are unable to ease the pain they are experiencing? A number of people internalize it as somehow being their fault or choose to withdraw because it is too painful to witness the pain their loved one is experiencing. They may go to great lengths to find ways to somehow ease the pain their loved one is facing. It may reach the point where a person who wants to deal with anything but their loved one’s pain do anything they possibly can to ensure their loved one does not become used to living with pain, or perceive it as a usual part of their life. There are many forms of disabilities in existence that involve chronic pain, either physical or emotional.
Where this writer is concerned, pain has become an everyday event. Living with chronic pain related to arthritis is a daily thing and I get around and take care of myself whether I have other issues to face such as medications to take, dishes to wash, a headache, appointments to keep, or anything else. Even when I am feeling the most pain I drag myself out of bed and continue on my regular daily routine. When the pain in my feet, ankles, or knees reaches the point where it is simply unbearable, I take the time to sit, take some pain medication, drink some tea, and relax. Then I continue doing whatever is on my agenda.
The person I love most in the world does basically the same thing, although the pain they experience is due to different forms of disabilities. They have endured two surgeries on different parts of their body in as many years. They still pursue their daily routine. They take the time they need to relax, ease the pain, take medications if they need to, and continue with life and living.
It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to always be there for the person you love when they experience chronic pain, whether that pain is physical or emotional. Nobody wants to watch as their loved one deals with pain and it is natural to want to be there for the person you love. Being, ‘ever-present,’ and acting like it is somehow your duty to be there every single minute of the day with the goal of easing the pain your loved one experiences can destroy your relationship.
The person you love may even have the same instinct as you do where wanting you to be there for them, doing whatever you can to ease the pain they are experiencing is concerned. It is the wrong instinct. Feeling as if you are somehow responsible for another person’s chronic pain leads to negative emotions. It leads to a sense of obligation that should not be there in the first place. It leads to expectations on both of your parts that you should always be there to ease the pain no matter how trivial the effort expected of you.
Continue to Love and Care
People who live with chronic pain inevitably have to become accustomed to living with it. It is physically impossible for another person to be present in someone’s life at every single minute of every single day, all year long, year after year. People with disabilities must be as independent as they able to achieve so they can help themselves when they need to. If there is no one around to help them, a person must be able to reach for the help they need, or help themselves. Attempts to somehow, ‘shelter,’ a person you love who lives with chronic pain only postpones their ability to learn to live with the chronic pain they live with.
Chronic pain is something you personally cannot remove from the one you love. Feeling bad because you cannot remove the pain your loved one feels, becoming depressed because you cannot, or racing around attempting to remove their pain knowing your best is never good enough, will not only get you nowhere – it won’t help the person you love. It will only make you feel worse as you blame yourself for not doing enough. Accept that the chronic pain the person you love experiences will always be there, and love the person you care about most in your life. Caring is the best thing you can do, not racing around being a waiter or waitress.
Hold the one you love, and let them know that you are there. It is worth more than endless, ‘I wish I could cure you of this pain,’ or, ‘I wish I could take this pain away from you.’ Understand that loving a person with chronic pain can mean giving them some space to deal with their own chronic pain, even if it means time spent without you. When they want to spend time with you and are not experiencing so much pain, they will let you know. Also understand that if you both experience chronic pain, it works both ways. Love is a wonderful thing and it is worth taking the time to care for each other in this way. Doing so ensures that neither of you are alone as you endure the pain, and the love will grow.
Citations and References:
Disability, women and love
It took me a long time to learn to express my own feelings and live naturally without fear and also to have confidence in being loved myself. Now I have been in love with my boyfriend for nearly three years and realize, if you don’t love yourself you can’t love anybody else.
Disability and Love
I talk about Ed and love with fondness and respect and because Josie chose to focus on anger.
Love, Identity and Disability
When we love someone, what exactly is it that we love? Is it their brain? What they do for us? What we feel in their presence?
Information and Treatment for Acute and Chronic Pain
The word suffering is sometimes used in the narrow sense of physical pain, but more often it refers to mental or emotional pain, or more often yet to pain in the broad sense, i.e. to any unpleasant feeling, emotion or sensation. The word pain usually refers to physical pain, but it is also a common synonym of suffering.
The words pain and suffering are often used both together in different ways. Or they may be used in ‘contradistinction’ to one another, as in “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”, or “pain is physical, suffering is mental”. Or they may be used to define each other, as in “pain is physical suffering”, or “suffering is severe physical or mental pain”.
So What is Pain?
Pain, in the sense of physical pain, is a typical sensory experience defined as the unpleasant awareness of a noxious stimulus or bodily harm. Individuals experience pain by various daily hurts and aches, and occasionally through more serious injuries or illnesses.
Pain is highly subjective to the individual experiencing it and is a major symptom in many medical conditions, significantly interfering with a person’s quality of life and general functioning.
Typical descriptions of pain quality include sharp, stabbing, tearing, squeezing, cramping, burning, lancinating (electric-shock like), or heaviness. It may be experienced as throbbing, dull, nauseating, shooting or a combination of these.
Pain may range in intensity from slight through severe to agonizing and can appear as constant or intermittent.
Diagnosis is based on characterizing pain in various ways, according to duration, intensity, type (dull, burning or stabbing), source, or location in body. Usually pain stops without treatment or responds to simple measures such as resting or taking an analgesic, and it is then called ‘acute’ pain. But it may also become intractable and develop into a condition called chronic pain, in which pain is no longer considered a symptom but an illness by itself.
To establish an understanding of an individual’s pain, health-care practitioners will typically try to establish certain characteristics of the pain: site, onset and offset, character, radiation, associated symptoms, time pattern, exacerbating and ameliorating factors and severity.
Medical management of pain has given rise to a distinction between acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain is ‘normal’ pain, it is felt when hurting a toe, breaking a bone, having a toothache, or walking after an extensive surgical operation. Chronic pain is a ‘pain illness’, it is felt day after day, month after month, and seems impossible to heal.
Types of Pain:
Psychogenic pain, also called psychalgia or somatoform pain, is physical pain that is caused, increased, or prolonged by mental, emotional, or behavioral factors. Headache, back pain, or stomach pain are some of the most common types of psychogenic pain.
Phantom pain is the sensation of pain from a limb or organ that has been lost or from which a person no longer receives physical signals. Phantom limb pain is an experience almost universally reported by amputees and quadriplegics. Phantom pain is a neuropathic pain.
Acute pain: Pain that comes on quickly, can be severe, but lasts a relatively short time. As opposed to chronic pain. Acute pain serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body.
Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists longer than the temporal course of natural healing, associated with a particular type of injury or disease process. Chronic pain impairs the ability to direct attention, in particular when compared to peers with low intensity or no chronic pain, people with high-intensity chronic pain have significantly reduced ability to perform attention-demanding tasks.
Interdisciplinary Care Best for Chronic Pain However Insurance Coverage Falls Short – American Academy of Pain Medicine (Mar 10, 2014)
Insomnia: Sleeping Disorders and Chronic Pain Conditions – Thomas C. Weiss (Feb 24, 2014)
Everybody Feels Pain Differently – Brain Structure Shows Who is Most Sensitive to Pain – Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (Jan 19, 2014)
Chinese Corydalis Herb Relieves Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain – University of California – Irvine (Jan 03, 2014)
Why Does Morphine Increase Pain in Some People – Université Laval (Jan 07, 2013)
Scientists Map Sensory Nerves – Johns Hopkins Medicine (Dec 30, 2012)
The Pain Whisperer Cures Untreatable Painful Conditions – The Pain Whisperer (Nov 28, 2012)
Love, Disability, and Chronic Pain – Wendy Taormina-Weiss (Oct 12, 2012)
Chronic Pain – A New Understanding – Scripps Research Institute (Jan 31, 2012)
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Overview – Molly Maxim (Jan 09, 2012)
Myofascial Pain syndrome (MPS) or Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP) – Disabled World (May 23, 2011)
How to Survive Grief – Sandra Champlain (May 20, 2011)
Easing Physical and Psychological Burden of Chronic Pain – Goalistics, LLC (May 19, 2011)
Itchiness and Pain Connected – University of California – Berkeley (May 02, 2011)
Simply Looking at Your Body May Reduce Pain – University College London (Feb 10, 2011)
It’s a Pain to Take Care of Pain – Indiana University School of Medicine (Dec 17, 2010)
Lower Back and Foot Pain Associated with Knee Osteoarthritis – Wiley-Blackwell (Nov 18, 2010)
Anger Amplifies Clinical Pain in Women with and without Fibromyalgia – Wiley-Blackwell (Sep 23, 2010)
Inflammation Causes Some Postsurgical Neuropathies – Mayo Clinic (Sep 23, 2010)
No Pain in Hospital – Wishful Thinking or Reality – Deutsches Aerzteblatt International (Sep 21, 2010)
Painkilling System in the Brain – Scripps Research (Aug 25, 2010)
Biomedical Diagnosis of Pain – University of Cincinnati (Aug 17, 2010)
Chronic Pain Gene Culprits Found – Mayo Clinic (May 07, 2010)
Blocking Pain at its Source – University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Apr 27, 2010)
Pain Free Treatment of Children and Adolescents – Deutsches Aerzteblatt International (Apr 26, 2010)
Can Words Hurt? – Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat Jena (Mar 30, 2010)
Non-drug Techniques Reduce Pain in Patients – Allina Hospitals & Clinics (Mar 05, 2010)
Hypnosis as Treatment for Pain Relief – Alan B. Densky, CH (Feb 19, 2010)
New, Targeted Pain Medicine Delivery Systems – American Academy of Pain Medicine (Feb 04, 2010)
Device for Pain Therapy not Recommended for Chronic Lower Back Pain – American Academy of Neurology (Dec 30, 2009)
Chronic Pain in Older Adults – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Nov 24, 2009)
Ineffective Pain Care Costing Over $100 Billion Annually – American Academy of Pain Medicine (Oct 27, 2009)
Less Chronic Pain when Taking Combined Drugs – Queens University (Sep 30, 2009)
Relieving Pain Meeting in Australia – Research Australia (Sep 17, 2009)
Pain Increases Signs of Aging by 2 to 3 Decades in Middle Aged Adults – Wiley-Blackwell (Sep 16, 2009)
Kidney Pain in Lower Back – Ryan C. Nagy, M.A. (Jun 25, 2009)
Pain Treatment for Cancer Patients? – University Hospital Heidelberg (Jun 25, 2009)
Pain Effects the Economy and Workplace – painexplained.ca (May 29, 2009)
Anxiety Increases Pain Intensity and Disability – Medical News (Apr 21, 2009)
Pain in the ICU Report Suggests Comprehensive Approach – American College of Chest Physicians (Apr 07, 2009)
Bedside Test Improves Diagnosis of Chronic Back Pain – Massachusetts General Hospital (Apr 07, 2009)
Chronic Pain Sufferers May Need to Assess Vitamin D Status – Mayo Clinic (Mar 20, 2009)
I Feel Your Pain: Neural Mechanisms of Empathy – Cell Press (Jan 28, 2009)
Pain Treatment Reports Often Cannot be Trusted – Medical News (Jan 14, 2009)
Painful Joints: Arthralgia – Annette Badowski (Jan 13, 2009)
Pain Manipulation Under Anesthesia – Dr. Anthony Abbruzzese (Dec 19, 2008)
Published: May 17, 2013 (Revised: Jun 14, 2013)
Abstract: Infographic contains information regarding the difference between Quadriplegia and Paraplegia including vertebra and spinal functions.
“Only 52% of SCI individuals are covered by private health insurance at the time of injury”
Detail: The infographic below contains information regarding the difference between Quadriplegia and Paraplegia, including vertebra and spinal functions.
Paraplegia – Paralysis from the waist down
Quadriplegia – Paralysis from the shoulders down
Complete Injuries – Result in the total loss of sensation and function below he injury level
Incomplete Injuries – Result in partial loss of sensation and function below the injury level
There are 32 injuries per million population or 7800 injuries in the US yearly
An estimated additional 20 cases per million (4860 per year) die before reaching the hospital
89.3% of all persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) who are discharged from the system are sent to private, non-institutional residence
6.6% are discharged to nursing home
The rest are discharged to hospitals, group living situations and other destinations
Only 0.9% of Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) fully recover
Average yearly expense for spinal cord injuries can range from $228,566 to $775,576 in the first year
Estimated lifetime costs due to spinal cord injury can range from $681,843 to over $3 million for a 25 year old
Only 52% of SCI individuals are covered by private health insurance at the time of injury
This infographic is presented to you in partnership with BackPainRelief.net Check out their site for more information on paraplegia, quadriplegia, and any other back pain related maladies, symptoms, and treatments.
Causes of Paraplegia and Quadriplegia
48% motor vehicles
14% sports (66% which are diving related)
Race and Ethnicity
66% of those injured are Caucasian
26.2% are African American
2.1% are Asian
0.9% are Native American
Age and Gender Statistics
82% of those injured are male
18% are female
Highest per capita rate of injuries occurs between the ages of 16-30
Average age at injury is 33.4
Median age at injury 26
Mode age at injury 19
Falls overtake leading cause after the age of 45
Marital Status at Injury
41.2% unemployed (includes students, retirees and homemakers)
After 8 years 34.4% of paraplegics and 24.3% of quadriplegics were still employed
This information is from the Disabled World Disability Information Section – Other relevant documents include:
Human Spinal Cord Picture C1 to S5 Vertebra – The human spinal cord, part of the central nervous system, is generally around 17 inches long, and extends from the brain to the lower back.
Disability in America Infographic – Infographic examines the subject of disability in America and highlights some of the obstacles that disabled Americans face on a daily basis – (Published 2011-12-01).
Back Injuries from Car Accidents – Types of back injuries associated with car accidents including compensation claims and medical costs – (Published 2011-07-17).
Hemiplegia Definition and Information – Hemiplegia is a condition which affects one side of the body only – hemi comes from the Greek word meaning half – (Published 2012-01-24).
Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP) – Facts and Information – Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) a degenerative genetic disorder with stiffness and weakness of leg and hip muscles gait difficulties and issues with walking – (Published 2010-04-15)
Discuss this Document
Do you agree, disagree, or would like to add an opinion on this topic? We welcome articulate, well-informed remarks relevant to the article. Comments are moderated by editorial staff of Disabled World, however we do not verify or endorse material shared by commenters below.
Abstract: Study on Global Burden of Disease reveals Musculoskeletal diseases are the second greatest cause of disability in all regions of the world.
Detail: Musculoskeletal diseases are the second greatest cause of disability in all regions of the world, according to a newly released study on the Global Burden of Disease published in The Lancet December 15, 2012. Back pain was found to cause the most disability worldwide, while osteoarthritis has shown the greatest increase in the last 20 years. The Bone and Joint Decade, an international initiative, has worked to raise awareness of the burden of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions throughout the world since its launch in 2000.
This new evidence further supports the Decade’s campaign to make musculoskeletal conditions a public health priority. The Lancet publication of the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study is available at http://www.thelancet.com/themed/global-burden-of-disease.
The study, the first comprehensive research into the worldwide impact of all diseases and risk factors, found that musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions such as arthritis and back pain affect more than 1.7 billion people worldwide, and have the 4th greatest impact on the overall health of the world population, considering both death and disability. This burden has increased by 45% over the last 20 years and will continue to do so unless action is taken. This landmark study of the global burden of all diseases provides indisputable evidence that musculoskeletal conditions are an enormous and emerging problem in all parts of the world and need to be given the same priority for policy and resources as other major conditions like cancer, mental health and cardiovascular disease.
“The release of the Global Burden of Disease Study reemphasizes that Musculoskeletal Conditions have been under recognized around the world for their impact on Society. Even in the developed world research funding for musculoskeletal conditions has not matched the burden of disease. This report should be the wake-up call to governments around the world, particularly in the developed world, to increase the funding for research and prevention activities to match the disease burden,” said Stuart Weinstein , MD, co-chair, The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS).
“Time and again, when the global burdens of disease are enumerated, musculoskeletal conditions rank high. Now we see that that rank is increasing. Although research funding reflects a long-term bias towards diseases with high mortality rates, the Global Burden of Disease project indicates that much of the growth in disease burdens has occurred for conditions that cause high disability rates. Redressing the funding disparity should become a high priority,” added Edward Yelin , PhD, MCP, co-chair, BMUS.
The need to redress the allocation of resources is echoed by Professor Christopher Murray and the authors of the study who say that “health systems will need to address the needs of the rising numbers of individuals with a range of conditions that largely cause disability, not mortality.”
The Global Burden of Disease 2010 Project is led by Professor Christopher Murray , Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Seattle, WA, the World Health Organization and involves researchers from around the world.
“The burden of musculoskeletal reflects not only the number of people directly impacted, but also the cost of treatment and lost work income. And, in addition to the direct impact of musculoskeletal conditions, these conditions also can have significant impact on the development or management of other health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, further amplifying the impact of these conditions. These aspects all need to be taken into account with healthcare reform in the U.S.,” said Kimberly Templeton , MD, president, U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative.
The Bone and Joint Decade is calling for urgent action by the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and by national governments and for explicit plans to respond to the Global Burden of Disease 2010 results and the new ranking which shows that musculoskeletal conditions have an enormous and growing impact in all regions of the world.
The United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI) is the U.S. National Action Network of the worldwide Bone and Joint Decade. The USBJI provides a forum for all stakeholders concerned with musculoskeletal health, raises the profile and priority of bone and joint health and disease prevention, and supports the advancement and expansion of musculoskeletal care and research through data dissemination, awareness-building programs, education initiatives, and advocacy. Data covering prevalence in the United States is published by the USBJI in The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States: Prevalence, Economic and Societal Cost (BMUS).