Processed food, Cognitive Decline, and Physical Therapy

Aug 12, 2022

Processed food, Cognitive Decline, and Physical Therapy

By Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, CNPT, ATC/L, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Cert-DN

Many physical therapists (PTs) work with geriatric clients that have cognitive decline. Our mainstay intervention for these patients typically is aerobic exercise, which promotes perfusion to the brain and can enhance memory and processing. While this intervention is fantastic, what if there could be other means to improve cognition in our older patients, or even prevent cognitive decline in the first place? That's where nutrition comes in!

A new study published shows that ultra-processed foods increase the odds of cognitive decline in middle aged adults. That’s right: middle-aged adults, a major group of patients that doctors of physical therapy (DPTs) work with, are at risk for declining cognition due to food. Ultra processed food has gotten a lot of publication recently. Dr. Kevin Hall has spoken extensively on this topic, as his NIH funded...

Continue Reading...

Gut Biome Linked with Alzheimer's: What do PTs Need to Know?

Jul 20, 2022

By Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CNPT, CSCS, Cert-DN

Alzheimer's Disease

Physical therapists (PTs) play a crucial role in helping patients and caregivers in the management of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Alzheimer's disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that slowly destroys a person's memory, personality, and physical functioning. Currently there is no none cure, so often PTs are left with help patients try to maintain as much physical and cognitive functioning as they can. The costs associated with managing patients with AD are projected to be over $2 Trillion dollars by 2030 -- yes, trillions!

Promising News

While there's much doom and gloom there is also hope: diet and the gut biome. A major, and first of its kind, study out of Edith Cowan University has established a genetic link between AD and several gut-related disorders. In the Nature Communications Biology Paper, the authors analysed large sets of genetic data from AD and several gut-disorder...

Continue Reading...

The Expanding Scope of Nutrition

May 17, 2021

By Dr. Sean M Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, CNPT, Cert-DN

The field of nutrition science continually expands. Once seen through only a metabolic and nutrient lens, nutrition science now interconnects with immunology, neurology, and psychology. How these fields of study interact are becoming amazingly complex but may help to shed light into various therapies and prevention for many common chronic conditions. How these various areas of clinical practice interact with nutrition makes it apparent that the practicing physical therapist needs to be aware of how foods interact with human physiology and biochemistry. 


Nutrition certainly impacts immunology. From colds to rheumatic flares, diet can certainly mediate certain physiological processes that can drive or promote disease states. Nutrients play a vital role in disease prevention. Water helps to hydrate our eyes and mouth to prevent infections. Vitamin C helps to boost white blood cell count, which...

Continue Reading...

Motor Improvement in Parkinson's with Lower Protein Intake

May 10, 2021

By Dr. Sean M Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, CNPT, Cert-DN

Parkinson's Diseases (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disease that significantly impacts movement. Many patients seek the expertise of physical therapists (PTs) to help improve their movements, balance, and quality of life. Exercise is most certainly the mainstay treatment, with resistance training, boxing, HIIT, and balance exercises being some of the top choices. Some clients of my practice have improved their condition so much they no longer use their rolling walkers, need help with transfers, and some even reduce their meds.

Other than exercise, nutrition is another key area that Doctors of Physical Therapy ought to be aware for their clients with PD. Nutrition is intimately related to the causality of PD. From heavy metals in foods like fish to severe alterations in the gut-biome, many nutrition researchers are finding that diet plays a major factor in developing the disease. Consumption of...

Continue Reading...

BPPV and Vitamin D

Feb 23, 2021

By Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS, CNPT, Cert-DN

Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient that can be obtained from the sun and has seemingly endless roles in human health. Despite our ability to gain vitamin D from the sun, most Americans are deficient, perhaps due to improper or lacking sun exposure, dietary patterns, or other reasons. Supplementation is simple, effective, and has been shown to have positive impacts on not just our bones -- it can help muscle strength, balance, and even the immune system for some patients.

Yet another role for vitamin D may be in the prevention of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. BPPV is one of the most common neuro-otological conditions DPTs see in clinical practice. BPPV can leave patients with a spinning sensation, inability to sleep, and balance or fall issues. Physical therapists commonly treat patients with BPPV using the evidenced based technique known as the Epley Maneuver. Other treatments include patient education...

Continue Reading...

Physical Therapy and Nutrition: Optimizing Pregnancy and Development

Jul 19, 2019

As physical therapists (PTs), we are far removed from the delivery room. Many of us help women after delivery through relieving post-delivery trauma, core strengthening, or general wellness to return to pre-pregnancy function/fitness status. Many of us also help women struggling with lower back pain, plantar fasciitis, and other ailments prior to delivery. A few of us also work in the neonatal intensive care and hospitals helping newborn children.  We also have large section of our professional organization, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), dedicated to helping children through pediatric PT. As such, we as PTs are nicely positioned to help counsel women and families on how to optimize delivery, recovery, and possibly infant and children's nutrition.

In The Womb

Many ailments and complications can arise during pregnancy. From lower back pain and posture issues, the musculoskeletal issues appear to be very straight forward for PT management. But...

Continue Reading...

Top 3 Nutrition Tips for Neuro PTs

Jun 11, 2019

Top 3 Nutrition Tips for Neuro PTs

By Dr. Sean M. Wells, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS, CNPT, NSCA-CPT, Cert-DN

Physical therapists (PTs) are unique, doctorally-prepared health care providers who work often one-on-one with their clients several times per week. As direct access and primary care providers, PTs can help patients get better functionally and holistically through exercise and dietary interventions. Whether you are a PT working in a hospital or fitness gym, you will encounter patients that have neurological deficits. While most PTs have the go-to physical interventions many struggle to conjure up ways to help these patients with nutritional tips. Below our team at Nutritional Physical Therapy will outline how PTs can offer nutritional tips to patients with neurological deficits.

#1 Reduce Alcohol

Having an ice-cold beer or a glass of wine may be a great way to end a hectic day; however, research has shown that those that have neurological issues may be best to steer clear of...

Continue Reading...

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.