As 2010 draws to a close, the Associate Editors and I are reflecting on this year of transition for the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy (JGPT), and the many accomplishments of the Section on Geriatrics. We have a lot to be thankful for and to be excited about!
We are grateful to the professional staff of Lippincott Williams & Wilkins for their support as we learned how to navigate the “Editorial Manager” system and its automated review process. We are grateful for the trust and patience of all of the authors and researchers who sent their work to the JGPT for peer review in 2010; we take our responsibility to provide informative constructive criticism to each group of authors very seriously and hope that their review process was “user-friendly,” whatever the outcome may have been. We are grateful for the continued dedication of colleagues who serve as reviewers, and welcome those who joined the review team in 2010; the journal would not “work” without them! We thank the Officers and Directors of the Section on Geriatrics for their ongoing support of the Journal and its Editorial Team. We are especially grateful to our readers, many of whom have offered comments, suggestions, and applause for the new format and appearance of the Journal.
In August 2010, the Section on Geriatrics sponsored an incredible conference, Exercise and Activity for Aging Adults (aka ExPAAC) at the University of Indianapolis. The JGPT is pleased to join Physical Therapy as an outlet for proceedings of ExPAAC. We anticipate that 8 to 10 articles will appear in JGPT during 2011 and 2012, with the first “briefs” of presentations in the June 2011 issue 34(2). Kudos to Ellen Miller and her ExPAAC committee for their efforts in organizing and implementing a gathering of experts and clinicians from multiple fields to share knowledge, debate issues, and challenge us to be agents of change for fitness and wellness for aging adults!
Once again, the focus of the researchers whose work appears in this issue centers on mobility and balance in later life. Shubert and colleagues provide a model of a community-based exercise program that positively impacted on physical and cognitive performance of the aging adults who participated. Their work contributes to the gathering evidence about the interaction of physical ability and cognition as related to risk of falling. In a prospective study of community living aging adults, Muir and colleagues present a screening algorithm that classifies risk of falling in a clinically useful way and also challenge us to be more proactive in follow-up assessment and interventions to reduce risk of falling. Chui and Lusardi add to the evidence on typical self-selected and fast walking speeds, presenting data from community living aging adults 80 years and older. Finally, Fabre and colleagues present a clinically useful summary of psychometric properties of measures used to determine risk of falling. Cumulatively, these articles highlight that mobility limitations, the determination of risk of falling, and evidence-based interventions to minimize fall risk are, and will continue to be, key issues in geriatric rehabilitation.
On Our Cover: The gentleman in this picture is a nearly 90-year-old volunteer who participated in the study by Chui and Lusardi on walking speed in later life. Although these researchers used the instrumented GAITRite system, data about walking speed can be collected with a simple stopwatch in a hallway using a 4-m protocol.1 There is accumulating evidence that the ability to walk at least 1.0 m/s has a positive impact on long-term health, frailty, risk of falling, and mortality,2,3 and that a change in walking speed of 0.1 m/s is clinically meaningful, across a variety of diagnoses common in later life.4–6 Do you routinely examine walking speed in the patients whom you care for?
Michelle M. Lusardi
1. Latham NK, Mehta V, Nguyen AM, et al. Performance-based or self-report measures of physical function: which should be used in clinical trials of hip fracture patients? Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008; 89:2146–2155.
2. Sorond FA, Galica A, Serrador JM, et al. Cerebrovascular hemodynamics, gait, and falls in an elderly population: MOBILIZE Boston Study. Neurology, 2010; 74:1627–1616.
3. Abellan van Kan G, Rolland Y, Bergman H, Morley JE, Kritchevsky SB, Vellas B. The I.A.N.A Task Force on frailty assessment of older people in clinical practice. J Nutr Health Aging. 2008; 12:29–37
4. Tilson JK, Sullivan KJ, Cen SY, et al. Meaningful gait speed improvement during the first 60 days poststroke: minimal clinically important difference. Phys Ther. 2010; 90:196–208.
5. Palombaro KM, Craik RL, Mangione KK, Tomlinson JD. Determining meaningful changes in gait speed after hip fracture. Phys Ther. 2006; 86:809–816.
6. Kwon S, Perera S, Pahor M, et al. What is a meaningful change in physical performance? Findings from a clinical trial in older adults (the LIFE-P study).