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author:("john, Melissa")
1.  Tele-monitoring reduces exacerbation of COPD in the context of climate change–a randomized controlled trial 
Environmental Health  2013;12:99.
Background
A home based tele-monitoring system was developed to assess the effects of heat stress (days > 25°C) on clinical and functional status in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Methods
Sixty-two COPD patients (GOLD II–IV) were randomized into a tele-monitoring Group (TG, N = 32) or Control Group (CG, N = 30). Tele-monitoring included 1) daily clinical status (COPD Assessment Test-CAT), 2) daily lung function and 3) weekly 6-minute walk test (6MWT). Duration of monitoring lasted a total of nine months (9 M).
Results
From June 1st–August 31st 2012, 32 days with heat stress (29.0 ± 2.5°C) were recorded and matched with 32 thermal comfort days (21.0 ± 2.9°C). During heat stress, the TG showed a significant reduction in lung function and exercise capacity (FEV1% predicted: 51.1 ± 7.2 vs. 57.7 ± 5.0%; P <0.001 and 6MWT performance: 452 ± 85 vs. 600 ± 76 steps; P <0.001) and increase in CAT scores (19.2 ± 7.9 vs. 16.2 ± 7.2; P <0.001).
Over summer, significantly fewer TG patients suffered exacerbation of COPD compared to CG patients (3 vs. 14; P = 0.006). Over entire 9 M follow-up, the TG group had fewer exacerbations compared to CG (7 vs. 22; P = 0.012), shorter cumulative hospital stay (34 vs. 97 days) and 43% fewer specialist consultations (24. vs. 42; P = 0.04).
Conclusion
Heat stress affects clinical and functional status in COPD. Tele-monitoring reduces exacerbation frequency and health care utilization during heat stress and other periods of the year.
Trial registration
DRKS-ID: DRK00000705.
doi:10.1186/1476-069X-12-99
PMCID: PMC3883526  PMID: 24261700
Climate change; Telemedicine; Heat stress; Exacerbation frequency; Activity monitoring
2.  How to improve walking, balance and social participation following stroke: a comparison of the long term effects of two walking aids--canes and an orthosis TheraTogs--on the recovery of gait following acute stroke. A study protocol for a multi-centre, single blind, randomised control trial 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:18.
Background
Annually, some 9000 people in Switzerland suffer a first time stroke. Of these 60% are left with moderate to severe walking disability. Evidence shows that rehabilitation techniques which emphasise activity of the hemiplegic side increase ipsilesional cortical plasticity and improve functional outcomes. Canes are commonly used in gait rehabilitation although they significantly reduce hemiplegic muscle activity. We have shown that an orthosis "TheraTogs" (a corset with elasticated strapping) significantly increases hemiplegic muscle activity during gait. The aim of the present study is to investigate the long term effects on the recovery of gait, balance and social participation of gait rehabilitation with TheraTogs compared to gait rehabilitation with a cane following first time acute stroke.
Methods/Design
Multi-centre, single blind, randomised trial with 120 patients after first stroke. When subjects have reached Functional Ambulation Category 3 they will be randomly allocated into TheraTogs or cane group. TheraTogs will be applied to support hip extensor and abductor musculature according to a standardised procedure. Cane walking held at the level of the radial styloid of the sound wrist. Subjects will walk throughout the day with only the assigned walking aid. Standard therapy treatments and usual care will remain unchanged and documented. The intervention will continue for five weeks or until patients have reached Functional Ambulation category 5. Outcome measures will be assessed the day before begin of intervention, the day after completion, 3 months, 6 months and 2 years. Primary outcome: Timed "up and go" test, secondary outcomes: peak surface EMG of gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, activation patterns of hemiplegic leg musculature, temporo-spatial gait parameters, hemiplegic hip kinematics in the frontal and sagittal planes, dynamic balance, daily activity measured by accelerometry, Stroke Impact Scale. Significance levels will be 5% with 95% CI's. IntentionToTreat analyses will be performed. Descriptive statistics will be presented.
Discussion
This study could have significant implications for the clinical practice of gait rehabilitation after stroke, particularly the effect and appropriate use of walking aids.
The results could be important for the development of clinical guidelines and for the socio-economic costs of post-stroke care
Trial registration number
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01366729.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-18
PMCID: PMC3342107  PMID: 22462692

Results 1-2 (2)