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Rebecca L. Vivrette, Laurence Z. Rubenstein, Jennifer L. Martin, Karen R. Josephson and B. Josea Kramer

Objective:

To determine seniors’ beliefs about falls and design a fall-risk self-assessment and educational materials to promote early identification of evidence-based fall risks and encourage prevention behaviors.

Methods:

Focus groups with community-dwelling seniors, conducted in two phases to identify perceptions about fall risks and risk reduction and to assess face validity of the fall-risk self-assessment and acceptability of educational materials.

Results:

Lay perception of fall risks was in general concordance with evidence-based research. Maintaining independence and positive tone were perceived as key motivators for fall prevention. Seniors intended to use information in the educational tool to stimulate discussions about falls with health care providers.

Implications:

An evidence-based, educational fall-risk self-assessment acceptable to older adults can build on existing lay knowledge about fall risks and perception that falls are a relevant problem and can educate seniors about their specific risks and how to minimize them.

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S.E. Barber, A. Forster and K.M. Birch

Background:

Physical activity is important for maintaining independence and quality of life in older people living in care homes. Little is known about patterns of physical activity or sedentary behavior in this population.

Methods:

Thirty-three care home residents (82.6 ± 9.2 years) wore an ActiGraph GTX3 accelerometer for seven days, which provided minutes of sedentary behavior and low, light, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Participants undertook the Mini-Mental State Examination and care staff reported activities of daily living (Barthel index) and functional ambulation classification (FAC) for each participant.

Results:

Participants spent on average 79% of their day sedentary, 14% in low, 6% in light, and 1% in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Activity levels did not significantly differ between days or hours of the day (P > .05).

Conclusion:

Levels of physical activity were very low and time being sedentary was high. This study can inform physical activity and sedentary behavior interventions for care homes’ residents.

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Melissa Daly, Meghan E. Vidt, Joel D. Eggebeen,, W. Greg Simpson, Michael E. Miller, Anthony P. Marsh and Katherine R. Saul

Aging leads to a decline in strength and an associated loss of independence. The authors examined changes in muscle volume, maximum isometric joint moment, functional strength, and 1-repetition maximum (1RM) after resistance training (RT) in the upper extremity of older adults. They evaluated isometric joint moment and muscle volume as predictors of functional strength. Sixteen healthy older adults (average age 75 ± 4.3 yr) were randomized to a 6-wk upper extremity RT program or control group. The RT group increased 1RM significantly (p < .01 for all exercises). Compared with controls, randomization to RT led to greater functional pulling strength (p = .003), isometric shoulder-adduction moment (p = .041), elbow-flexor volume (p = .017), and shoulder-adductor volume (p = .009). Shoulder-muscle volumes and isometric moments were good predictors of functional strength. The authors conclude that shoulder strength is an important factor for performing functional reaching and pulling tasks and a key target for upper extremity RT interventions.

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Elissa Burton, Kaela Farrier, Gill Lewin, Simone Pettigrew, Anne-Marie Hill, Phil Airey, Liz Bainbridge and Keith D. Hill

Regular participation in resistance training is important for older people to maintain their health and independence, yet participation rates are low. The study aimed to identify motivators and barriers to older people participating in resistance training. A systematic review was conducted including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method studies. Searches generated 15,920 citations from six databases, with 14 studies (n = 1,937 participants) included. In total, 92 motivators and 24 barriers were identified. Motivators specific to participating in resistance training included preventing deterioration (disability), reducing risk of falls, building (toning) muscles, feeling more alert, and better concentration. Looking too muscular and thinking participation increased the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or death, despite the minimal likelihood of these occurring, were barriers. The analysis indicates that increasing participation in resistance training among older people should focus on the specific benefits valued by older people and the dissemination of accurate information to counter misperceptions.

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Jane Chung, George Demiris and Hilaire J. Thompson

Mobility is critical in maintaining independence in older adults. This study aims to systematically review the scientific literature to identify measures of mobility limitation for community-dwelling older adults. A systematic search of PubMed, CINAHL, and psycINFO, using the search terms “mobility limitation”, “mobility disability”, and “mobility difficulty” yielded 1,847 articles from 1990 to 2012; a final selection of 103 articles was used for the present manuscript. Tools to measure mobility were found to be either self-report or performance-based instruments. Commonly measured constructs of mobility included walking, climbing stairs, and lower extremity function. There was heterogeneity in ways of defining and measuring mobility limitation in older adults living in the community. Given the lack of consistency in assessment tools for mobility, a clear understanding and standardization of instruments are required for comparison across studies and for better understanding indicators and outcomes of mobility limitation in community-dwelling older adults.

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Stephen Silverman and Melinda Solmon

This paper addresses the appropriate unit of analysis in field research. We first discuss the issues related to this topic: (a) unit of measurement versus unit of analysis, (b) treatments and random assignment, (c) independence of observations, (d) moderating and control variables, and (e) correlational versus experimental research. We then present a model for determining the correct unit of analysis. In many instances, researchers should use class means or subgroup means, and this has implications for research design. In the third section, we discuss the related issues of (a) the burden of proof, (b) asking the right questions and getting the right answers, and (c) completing statistical analyses. How data are analyzed can affect the results, and researchers should consider these issues when planning their research.

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César García

Historically, Barcelona Football Club (BFC) has represented one of the pillars of Catalan identity, which earned it the slogan “more than a club.” In recent times, especially under the presidency of Joan Laporta, management has radicalized the club’s political positions by using BFC as a platform to openly promote the independence from Spain of the Catalan region. Despite the fact that most Barcelona fans in Catalonia, as well as in the rest of Spain, have much more moderate political positions, the radicalization of BFC does not appear to have eroded the relationship-building process with Barcelona fandom. This article argues that BFC as an institution still maintains a good relationship with its fans because the social, as well as individual, identity provided by allegiance to a soccer club such as BFC is ultimately more important to members and fans than the club’s political positions.

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Daniel A. Gruber

This article presents a case study of the developments in media gatekeeping in the last 10 years, focusing on the launch of the Tennis Channel and the ascendance of ESPN as the major network for professional tennis in the United States. The U.S. broadcast networks NBC and CBS have ceded the exclusive television rights for 2 of the Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon, U.S. Open) to ESPN for the first time in over 40 years. Meanwhile, the Tennis Channel, despite its independence from the media conglomerates, has carved out a niche for fans with its extensive global coverage of tournaments and for advertisers with its lucrative audience demographics. This change in dominance after the broadcast networks reigned for over 4 decades underscores the globalization of the sport and the abundance of early-round tournament matches available to fans. Organizational theories are used to analyze what has occurred and to predict what will happen next for tennis media gatekeeping in the United States.

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Therese Brovold, Dawn A. Skelton, Hilde Sylliaas, Morten Mowe and Astrid Bergland

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship among health-related quality of life (HRQOL), physical fitness, and physical activity in older patients after recent discharge from hospital. One hundred fifteen independent-living older adults (ages 70–92 years) were included. HRQOL (Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form Health Survey), physical activity (Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly), and physical fitness (Senior Fitness Test) were measured 2–4 weeks after discharge. Higher levels of physical activity and physical fitness were correlated with higher self-reported HRQOL. Although cause and effect cannot be determined from this study, the results suggest that a particular focus on the value of physical activity and physical fitness while in hospital and when discharged from hospital may be important to encourage patients to actively preserve independence and HRQOL. It may be especially important to target those with lower levels of physical activity, poorer physical fitness, and multiple comorbidities.

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Jae Kun Shim, Jeffrey Hsu, Sohit Karol and Ben F. Hurley

The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of finger strength training (ST) on finger strength, independence, force control, and adaptations in multifinger coordination. Thirty-three healthy, young (23.0 ± 2.9 years) subjects were randomly assigned into 4 groups. Group 1 (G1) trained all fingers together, Group 2 (G2) trained individual fingers without restricting movements of the non-training fingers, and Group 3 (G3) trained individual fingers while restricting the movement of the nontraining fingers. The control group (G0) did not undergo any training. A vertically hanging load was attached to a spring that passed through a pulley. The other end of the string extended to the horizontal plane and had thimbles attached to it. Subjects were asked to rest their forearm on the table and lift the load by inserting their fingers into the thimbles. The training protocol lasted 6 weeks. Identical experimental tests were conducted 4 times, biweekly, across the 6-week training. Force coordination and moment coordination, defined as synergies stabilizing the resultant force and the resultant moment of all finger forces, in a multifinger pressing task were quantified using the Uncontrolled Manifold (UCM) analysis. The UCM analysis allocates motor variability into two components, one in the null space of a motor task and the other perpendicular to the null space. During multifinger pressing tasks, multifinger coordination exists when the variability in the null space is greater than the variability in the subspace perpendicular to the null space. The multifinger coordination was quantified as the difference between the variance within the null space and that perpendicular to the null space, normalized by the total variance. Thus, the coordination measure in our analysis is a unitless variable. A greater coordination measure indicates better multifinger coordination. Moment-stabilizing multifinger coordination increased only in G1 (from 1.197 ± 0.004 to 1.323 ± 0.002, p < .01), and force-stabilizing coordination increased only in G3 (from 0.207 ± 0.106 to 0.727 ± 0.071, p < .01). Finger strength, measured by the maximal voluntary finger force of pressing 4 fingers, increased significantly in all training groups (from 103.7 ± 3.1 N to 144.0 ± 3.6 N for training groups, all p < .001). Finger-force errors, quantified by the deviations between the required force profiles (20% maximal voluntary force) presented to the subjects and the actual force produced, decreased significantly with ST for all the training groups (all p < .05). Finger independence also decreased significantly for all the training groups (p < .05). We conclude that the neuromuscular system adaptations to multifinger ST are specific to the training protocol being employed, yielding improvements in different types of multifinger coordination (i.e., coordination-specific ST), finger-force control, and finger strength and a decrease in finger independence. Finger independence, depending on the nature of the task, might or might not be favorable to certain task performances. We suggest that ST protocol should be carefully designed for the improvement of specific coordination of multieffector motor systems.