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Insider Arthritis Tips Newsletter August 2011
August 15, 2011

"A good goal is like a strenuous exercise - it makes you stretch." -- Mary Kay Ash, cosmetics pioneer

Insider Arthritis Tips August 2011

Arthritis drug may ward off lung cancer in ex-smokers

Delicia Honen Yard writing in Oncology Nurse Advisor reported Celebrex had potential as a powerful chemopreventive agent for lung cancer. This nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is often prescribed to relieve the symptoms caused by various forms of arthritis.
In a report published by Cancer Prevention Research, Jenny T. Mao, MD, and colleagues from the University of New Mexico noted that ample studies suggest the COX-2/prostaglandin E2 pathway plays a pivotal role in cancer.
To investigate further, the team conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase II trial to explore the effects of a 6-month regimen of Celebrex 400 mg twice a day on former smokers. The 137 participants were at least 45 years old, had at smoked for at least 30 pack-years, and had not smoked for at least 1 year. A total of 101 patients randomized to celebrex or placebo completed both baseline and 6-month bronchoscopies and were measured for levels of bronchial Ki 67 LI a cell growth marker. All patients eventually underwent 6 months of celebrex therapy by the end of a 12-month treatment period.
In those who crossed groups, Ki-67 reductions correlated with a reduction of lung nodules on CT scans. Celecoxib lowered Ki-67 LI by an average of 34%, whereas placebo increased the marker by an average of 3.8%. “Taken together, these findings strongly suggest that Celebrex can be used as a chemopreventive agent in these high-risk groups,” observed Mao.

Comment: A different application for this arthritis drug perhaps? Remember, aspirin has many uses also.

CDC Survey Indicates Obesity Rate Is 30% Or Greater In 12 States

Jonathan Shorman writing in USA Today reported, "Southern states remain among the most obese," according to a survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Twelve states had obesity rates of 30% or higher in 2010, show results of the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, a phone survey of 400,000 US adults."

Comment: Too much Coca Cola and Whoopie pies I imagine…

"July Effect" Real

Roni Caryn Rabin writing in the New York Times reported," that "until recently there was little proof that medical errors spike in the summer when new medical trainees start working at teaching hospitals - a phenomenon known as the 'July effect.' But a new review has found evidence that death rates do increase in July, and that many patients stay in the hospital longer than in other months."
The study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, is believed to be the first systematic review of the data from previous studies. The studies indicated that patient death rates in teaching hospitals increase by 8 percent in July.
Those studies also reported longer hospital stays, more drawn-out procedures and higher hospital charges in July, when 20 to 30 percent of the more experienced doctors-in-training leave and a class of newly minted doctors starts working at teaching hospitals, said Dr. John Q. Young, the paper’s lead author, who is associate program director for the residency training program in psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

Comment: Don’t go into the hospital in July if you can avoid it!

Urban Dwellers Often Healthier Than Rural Peers

Melinda Beck writing in the Wall Street Journal reported that despite popular images of rural areas being cleaner and healthier, Americans living in major urban areas are now living longer, healthier lives than those in rural areas. This is because many cities that were once polluted and filled with disease have cleaned up, while rural areas have not. People in cities tend to have higher income and education, and also more access to healthcare. Advantages of rural living include lower incidence of autoimmune conditions, including asthma and allergies, and healthier eating habits. Moreover, studies show urban residents have a higher incidence of mental illness. However, by some measures, suburban residents are in the best health; they also have the highest average income.

Comment: Well… isn’t that interesting!

Vitamin D Insufficiency Common Among Psoriatic Arthritis Patients

Robert Preidt writing in Healthday reported, "Vitamin D insufficiency is common among people with psoriatic arthritis," according to a study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research. In the study including "more than 300 patients living" in Canada and Israel in whom 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25 (OH) D] levels were measured both in the summer and winter, researchers also found that "seasonal or geographic differences in vitamin D levels were not statistically significant, and vitamin D levels did not affect disease activity."

Comment: Another form of arthritis (to Go along with rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile arthritis) Where vitamin D deficiency should be looked for.

Even Mild Concussions May Increase Risk Of Dementia

Marilyn Marchione writing in the Associated Press reported, "A large study in older veterans raises fresh concern about mild brain injuries that hundreds of thousands of American troops have suffered from explosions in recent wars.
Even concussions seem to raise the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other dementia later in life, researchers found." The research, funded by the US Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health, was led by Dr. Kristine Yaffe, director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at the Veterans Affairs hospital in San Francisco.
Researchers working on the study "reviewed medical records on 281,540 veterans who got care from Veterans Health Administration hospitals from 1997 to 2000 and had at least one follow-up visit from 2001-2007."

Comment: Sobering statistics. If you’ve ever had personal encounters with someone you care about who has dementia, this article emphasizes the one of the many causes.

Physicians Connect With Patients Who Share A Disease

Carolyne Krupa writing in the American Medical News reported physicians who have experienced the same conditions as their patients. Neurologist William Shaffer, who has and treats MS, says it helps him connect with his own patients, and that "without doubt, it gives patients a level of comfort." Gynecologic oncologist Carolyn Runowicz, who experienced breast cancer, said, "It makes you more empathetic, but also tougher in that you can tell patients what they need to do and that you did it. ... I think they appreciate having an oncologist who has walked in their shoes."

Comment: Since one of my kids and one of my sisters both have arthritis, and I’m getting a touch of Arthur as well, I can appreciate this story.

More Americans Undergoing Knee, Hip Replacement Surgeries

William Loeffler writing in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported that aging baby boomers who are determined "to stay young and fit" are "helping to drive a surge in hip and knee replacements."
According to the Agency for Health Research and Quality, "knee replacements rose from 318,625 in 1997 to 679,260 in 2009, and more than tripled" in patients between the ages of 45 and 64.
The primary cause is "osteoarthritis, in which cartilage around the joints degenerates through overuse, obesity or congenital defects such as hip dysplasia." Also, more Americans "under 50 years of age are getting knee replacements, says Jennifer Hootman, epidemiologist at Centers for Disease Control. ... Those who want to continue pursuing an active lifestyle simply take it for granted that they'll get another artificial knee or hip when they wear out the first."

Comment: There must be a better way. Metal and plastic can only last so long.

Soy, Milk Protein Supplements May Be Associated With Lower Blood Pressure

Jeannine Stein writing in the Los Angeles Times reported that, according to a study published in Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association, "soy and milk protein supplements may be associated with lower blood pressure more than refined carbohydrate supplements."
For a two-month period, researchers randomized 352 "people with mild hypertension or higher-than-normal blood pressure on three separate regimens of daily supplements containing soy protein, milk protein, and complex carbohydrates."
"The carbohydrate supplement had no measurable effect on blood pressure, but the soy and milk protein supplements, reduced their systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) by about two points, on average."

Comment: I personally hate the taste of soy products. On the other hand I don’t like my blood pressure being high either.

Millions Of Alzheimer's Cases Worldwide Could Be Prevented By Curbing Risk Factors

Marilyn Marchione writing in the Associated Press reported, "Millions of cases of Alzheimer's disease worldwide could be prevented by curbing risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise," according to research presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Paris and published in The Lancet Neurology.
For the study, researchers from the University of California-San Francisco, "used a mathematical model to estimate the impact of top modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer's disease: smoking, depression, low education, diabetes, too little exercise, and obesity and high blood pressure in mid-life."

Comment: What it boils down to is taking care of your body because you only have one of them.

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August Special Of The Month

Black & Decker Lids-Off Jar Opener

Opening jars has never been quicker or easier! Simply press the handle down and the Lids Off Jar Opener Deluxe will open virtually any size jar in one simple operation. Its compact design makes it easy to store, and its stylish look compliments any kitchen.

  • No hand strength or strenuous twisting required
  • Innovative design adjusts to fit and open virtually any size jar
  • Saves time and simplifies the task of opening jars

For the month of August, you can purchase this product by typing this link into your internet browser:

Don’t have a computer?? No worries, call our office at 301-694-5800, and we can help you with your purchase.

Plus, if you purchase the Black and Decker Lids Off Jar Opener during the month of August, you can receive a copy of Arthritis Research Institutes, “Recipes & Remembrances” cookbook. This is a 25.00 book packed with delicious recipes for only $14.99. All proceeds benefit the Arthritis Research Institute and are tax deductible.

Just call our office at 301-694-5800, provide us with your receipt number for the Lids Off Jar Opener, and we will send your “Recipes & Remembrances” cookbook to you promptly!

Wei’s World August 2011

For one evening, I was almost a star.

As you know, one of my kids, Jeffrey, is an aspiring Broadway theater star. He has two upcoming performances- one in New Jersey and one in Phoenix, Arizona. My wife and I are, of course, going to see him perform.

In June, I had a chance to make my stage debut. My wife, two of our children, and I went to see a production of the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” This was a show that was originally off- Broadway but because it was so popular, eventually made it to Broadway.

The production we went to see was in a theater in Washington. The premise of the play is that there is a county-wide spelling bee and the play is a comedy that highlights the background of the contestants. What makes them human… what makes them frail… what makes them strong… all in a fun sort of way.

As part of the show, audience members are preselected to participate in a live spelling bee. I was one of the chosen. We all got special seats in the front row. When the play began, we were called up on stage to sit with the performers.

Well… in 9th grade, I had won my school’s spelling bee, so I thought, “I’m going to blow everyone away.”

To my surprise I was the first person chosen to go up to the mike. Now, I’m not that shy in front of an audience. I think I can hold my own. So I was given the word “fandango.” I asked for the meaning and also asked for its use in a sentence as I had been instructed. Then I spelled the word… and heard the buzzer signifying … I was WRONG!!!

I had left out the letter “n.” How did that happen? I couldn’t believe it.

When I was escorted back to my seat in the audience, there was light applause. It seemed like everyone felt sorry for me but was thinking, “what an idiot- he couldn’t spell “fandango?” My wife whispered, “How did that happen. You did that on purpose didn’t you? You didn’t want to stay up there. Right?” The truth is I just left out the “n.” Why? I have no idea. It just happened. But it didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the play anyway.

But… I knew it was going to take me a long time to live that one down!

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