"You can't have a better tomorrow if you're thinking about yesterday."
-- Charles Kettering, Inventor
Reporting Arthritis News For March 2011
Stress Fractures Related
To Overuse Common In
Alan Mozes writing in HealthDay reported,
"Stress fractures linked to overuse may be
more common than thought among high
school athletes, especially among those
who participate in running-related sports,"
according to findings presented at the
meeting of the American Academy of
and 2010," the researchers tracked the
"frequency and nature of stress fractures
among student athletes enrolled at 57
participating high schools." Athletic
trainers at each school were "asked
to fill out information forms outlining
each young athlete's sport history, skill
level, training intensity, dietary routine
and fracture details."
According to Kathleen Doheny
in WebMD, "230 stress fractures were
reported in 189 athletes, affecting 115 girls
(61%) and 74 boys (39%)." The bones
most often fractured were: "Tibia (shin bone):
48%; Long bones in the forefoot: 19%; Spine:
6%; Pelvis: 6%; Hindfoot: 4%" and "Femur
(thigh bone): 4%." Males were most likely to
"get fractures from track, football, and cross
country" and females, from "track and cross country."
Comment: I think we may be pushing our kids too much
when it comes to athletics. These injuries
lead to arthritis later on in life.
Seniors With Obesity, Osteoarthritis
May Lose About 3.5 Pain-Free Years
Jenifer Goddwin writing in Healthday reported,
“Obesity and osteoarthritis of the knee are robbing
millions of older Americans of an average of 3.5
years of life in which they might otherwise be feeling
healthy and free of chronic pain," according to a study
published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers created a "mathematical model to calculate
'quality-adjusted life-year losses,' or years of good health
lost." They found that approximately "3.3 percent, or some
2.9-million Americans, are both obese and have knee
osteoarthritis" and projected they will "enjoy 3.5 years
less of pain-free good health than those who are
neither obese nor have osteoarthritis."
Comment: Here’s the lesson… you have control over whether
the quality of your life will be affected by your
weight and by arthritis. You need to do something
High-Fiber Diet May Reduce
Risk Of Dying From Chronic
Diseases, Some Cancers
Carla Johnson writing for the Associated
Press reported, "Eat more fiber and you
just may live longer," according to a study
in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The analysis, based on data from "388,000
adults," who participated in a study
conducted by NIH and AARP, found that
people who met the national dietary
for fiber intake "were less likely to die during
a nine-year follow-up period."
Angela Haupt and Katherine Hobson
writing in US News and World
Report on the same study commented
that lead author Dr. Yikyung Park
suggested that fiber reduces the risk
of early death because it "lowers levels
of 'bad' LDL cholesterol, improves
blood glucose levels, reduces inflammation,
and binds to potential cancer-causing agents,
helping to flush them out of the body."
Comment: You are what you eat. I guess if it were
totally true, I would be a huge plate of
Arthritis Drugs Could Help
Prevent Memory Loss After
Surgery, Study Suggests
From Science Daily comes this gem.
Anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat
diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis may
also help prevent cognitive problems after
surgery, according to a new study by
researchers at Imperial College London
and University of California, San Francisco
The research also reveals that a specific
inflammatory response in the brain
may explain why many patients
experience memory loss or other
forms of cognitive dysfunction after
surgery or critical illness.
Their work was published in the journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
For years, doctors have been unable
to explain why some patients, especially
the elderly, experience confusion, learning
disorders and memory loss after surgery –
a condition clinicians call post-operative
cognitive decline. New research suggests
that it is caused by cell-to-cell signaling
molecules called cytokines released by
cells of the immune system. There are
drugs already in use that target the activity
of cytokines so it is possible that these
drugs could be effective against cognitive
Comment: This is another example of how a medicine
used to treat one type of illness may
have applications in others.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
and Doctors Differ on Disease
From ScienceDaily comes this article…
A novel study by researchers at the
University of California, San Francisco
found that nearly one-third of Rheumatoid
Arthritis patients differed from their
physicians in assessment of their disease
severity. The disagreement between
patient and doctor evaluation of RA
activity was most prevalent in patients
with depressive symptoms, and those
who had poor overall function. The study
was published in Arthritis Care & Research.
"We found clinically meaningful differences
between patient and physician assessments
of RA disease severity in 36% of cases,"
confirmed Dr. Jennifer Barton. "In an
overwhelming majority (85%) of these
discordant pairs, the physicians'
assessments underscored the patients'
Dr. Barton concluded, "Further
investigation of the relationships
between mood, disease activity, and
discordance may help guide interventions
that improve RA patient care."
Comment: Better communication obviously
RA Patients With Poor Sleep
At Greater Risk For Pain
Bill Hendrick writing for WebMD reported,
"People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who
don't sleep well face significant risks of greater
functional disability due to pain and fatigue
symptoms associated with poor sleep quality,"
according to a study published in the Journal of
Clinical Sleep Medicine. The researchers asked
162 patients, who had RA on average for 14 years,
to provide "information concerning fatigue,
depression, severity of pain, and functional
disability." The results showed that "61% of
participants were poor sleepers" of whom 33%
reported having "pain that disturbed their sleep
at least three times per week."
Comment: Another study showing the correlation between
poor sleep and pain
CDC Report: Almost 30%
Of US Adults Do Not Exercise
In case you missed it, a story
reported by Diane Sawyer on
ABC News "A red alert about
a health crisis that is threatening
lives but something that can
be prevented, can be changed.
The CDC announced the results
of a comprehensive survey which
lays out what's needed if Americans
are going to cut doctor bills and
the ever-increasing consumption
of prescription drugs." ABC
correspondent David Muir added,
"Beyond being overweight as nation,
" a new "map reveals the correlation
between weight and disease and
now skyrocketing doctor's bills
because of it." Muir said the CDC
data indicate that "nearly 30% of
adults get no exercise at all."
Comment: If you’re not exercising regularly
yet, get going!
Biomarker May Help
Shari Roan writing in the
Los Angeles Times reports that
scientists have "identified a
biomarker that can help doctors
diagnose a common knee injury
-- a meniscus tear," according to
a study in the Journal of Bone and
Joint Surgery. The researchers
a "specific protein in the knee
fluid of 30 patients with a meniscal
tear. A comparison of 10 patients
who did not have a meniscal tear
showed no presence of the protein."
The study authors noted that further
research is need to "determine if taking
a sample of knee fluid can confirm the
meniscal tear and distinguish it from
other types of injuries."
would be a pretty simple way to
make the diagnosis, I think.
Interferon Gamma May Be
To Improve Bone Strength
Laura Dean writing in Medwire
reported a protein called Interferon
gamma plays a key role in the
maintenance of bone strength.
Researchers suggest it may potentially
be used therapeutically to improve
bone strength," according to a study
in the Journal of Bone and Mineral
Research The researchers administered
IFNγ to mice with their ovaries surgically
removed. The interferon prevented
the 17% bone loss noted in a control
group of mice. A group of mice
with their ovaries intact sustained a
marked increase in bone mass with
the interferon treatment.
Comment: I wonder what the mice thought
about this study…
Can Hold Up For Twenty
Years Or More
Shari Roan writing in the Los
Angeles Times reported that, according
to a study presented at the American
Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
annual meeting, knee replacement
surgery can hold up well for two
decades or more. Investigators
evaluated "128 people who had lived
at least 20 years after total knee
replacement surgery" and found
that "almost all of the patients
had good physical function."
Comment: Good news for us Baby Boomers…
although I think a stem
cell procedure would be better.
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Wei's World March 2011
My wife and I recently took a vacation. When we married 26 years ago, we couldn’t afford a honeymoon. Things were very tight. I was still paying off my medical school loans and the practice was in its early years. So we promised ourselves that someday we would go on a honeymoon.
We went to the Caribbean island of Anguilla. If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend it. It’s a small island, relatively unspoiled in the British West Indies. There’s very little else to do but enjoy the friendliness of the people and the beautiful beaches.
What was striking about this trip, aside from the fact we had the most wonderful vacation of our lives, is that I was without my cell phone for the entire week.
Now that may not seem like a big deal to many people but for someone who has been addicted to his cell phone for many years, it was true withdrawal. The reason I went “cell phoneless” is that the roaming charges I would have had to pay were astronomical so I thought… hmmm maybe I can do without my phone. Let’s see….
And lo and behold, nothing bad happened to me. In fact, I sort of enjoyed it. It is a liberating feeling to be let loose from technology at least a little bit. I have to confess, I still had access to email but I wasn’t crazy about it. I looked at it and responded to things that were critical but I deleted about 99 per cent of what I saw. Very unlike what I would have done had I been at home.
I did see quite a few people at the resort we were staying at conversing on their phones. I’m not criticizing them. I understand what they were doing. But it was liberating just the same to not do what they did.
A true vacation is one where the constraints of the outside world aren’t there. Technology is a wonderful thing… but as one of my friends put it about being on his cell phone- a Blackberry no less- “the good news is that I’m always available… the bad news is that I’m always available…”
I worry that we are getting farther and farther away from that.
I never ever saw myself getting away from my cell phone. Ever. But now that I’ve done it once, I can’t wait to do it again.