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Insider Arthritis Tips Newsletter May 2011
May 15, 2011

"In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these." -- Paul Harvey, broadcaster




Reporting Arthritis News For May 2011

Injectable gel helps arthritis?
Tiny Defensor in Science Daily reports a gel that can be injected directly into the source of arthritic pain and deliver metered doses of medicine as needed has been developed by researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital of Harvard Medical School. Drugs encased in a gel that is then broken down by enzymes in a joint appear to hold a viable answer to many arthritis problems. These enzymes proliferate during pain episodes and thus cause the drugs to be released when they are needed. Jeffrey Karp, leader of the research and co-director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital said that "the Holy Grail of drug delivery is a system that [meters] the amount of drug released in response to a biological stimulus, ensuring that the drug is released only when needed at a therapeutically relevant concentration."

Comment: I think what he said was slow release of medicine can help arthritis. It’s important to understand that this is not the same stuff as Hyalgan or Synvisc or those other lubricants Interesting concept… stay tuned.


About 20 % of patients prefer physicians wearing ties
Kerry Grens writing in Reuters reported that researchers from the University of North Carolina polled 176 new adult dermatology clinic patients and the parents of 248 children being seen at a pediatric clinic on what physicians should wear, and found that overall, only about 20 percent wanted male physicians to wear neckties.

Comment: What’s the big deal.. I usually wear a tie with my dress


Computer-controlled cadaver gives researchers insight into causes of shoulder injuries
Kay Lazar writing in the Boston Globe, " Using a computer-controlled cadaver to simulate a pitcher on the mound, Boston researchers are gaining insights into the causes of baseball shoulder problems." The researchers "found that when the scapula was out of line, it increased the stress on the shoulder joint, where the arm joins the shoulder. This can impinge the movement of the rotator cuff, which is the group of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that connect the upper arm bone with the shoulder blade, and is pivotal to shoulder mobility."

Comment: Sounds like Frankenstein to me… but I’m sure the Red Sox could sure use this information.




Researchers See No Increased Risk of oral cleft birth defects in babies born to moms on corticosteroids
Amy Norton writing in Reuters, reports that, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, there appears to be no increased risk of oral cleft birth defects in babies born to mothers taking corticosteroids for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, allergies, or multiple sclerosis. Researchers arrived at this conclusion after analyzing data on 832,636 Danish babies.

Comment: In all sincerity, this is reassuring information since those of us who prescribe steorids are always concerned about potential side effects. If we can cross this one off the list, that’s great.




Green tea supplements, Tai Chi may improve bone & muscle strength in postmenopausal women

Laura Dean writing in Medwire reported, "Green tea polyphenol (GTP) supplementation combined with Tai Chi (TC) exercise improves bone remodeling and muscle strength in postmenopausal women with osteopenia," according to research presented at the Experimental Biology meeting. For the study, researchers "evaluated the effect of dietary supplementation with green tea supplements and a TC exercise program (3 times per week) on the bone health of 171 postmenopausal women (mean age 57 years) with osteopenia. " The researchers found "that women who received GTP-only had higher levels of" bone-specific alkaline phosphatase "versus placebo after 4 weeks, while women who took part in TC had higher BAP levels versus placebo after 12 weeks."

Comment: More interesting info on complementary therapies. More than 50% of Americans now take nutritional supplements. Conventional medicine needs to understand this.




More physicians recommending physical activity to osteoarthritis patients

Laura Landro writing in the Wall Street Journal reports that physicians are increasingly are recommending physical activity to help patients with osteoarthritis. Kate Lorig, director of the Patient Education Research Center at Stanford University, said, "The most dangerous exercise you can do when you have arthritis is none." According to Harvard Medical School experts, strengthening the muscles around the hip or knees can help support the joints and take over some of the shock-absorbing role played by cartilage.

Comment: The take-away message… if you have arthritis you must exercise! It’s better to wear out than to rust out!




Physicians may choose riskier treatment for themselves than they'd recommend for patients

The Associated Press reports, "Physicians may choose riskier treatment for themselves than they'd recommend for their patients," according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. "The findings are important because patients faced with difficult medical decisions often ask their doctors, 'What would you do?' The answer reflects the doctors' values -- not necessarily those of the patient."

Comment: I’m often asked that question by my patients… Very interesting article.


Bear hormones can deter Osteoporosis

The Associated Press reports, "A Michigan Technological University researcher is using a $1 million grant from National Institutes of Health to see if a bear hormone holds promise for treating osteoporosis in humans." Associate professor Seth Donahue has "been studying bears to help learn what protects their bones against calcium loss during hibernation." Donahue is "now undertaking two related studies, one involving human bone-making cells and the other involving mice with osteoporosis."

Comment: Just for fun…




Mind tricks may help arthritis pain

Anthony Bartram BBC News Correspondent writes a chance discovery by academics in Nottingham has found that a simple optical illusion could unlock a drug-free treatment for arthritis. The computer-generated mind trick has been tested on a small sample of sufferers and found that in 85 per cent of cases it cut their pain in half. Research is still in the early stages, but initial results suggest the technology, called Mirage, could help patients improve mobility in their hands by reducing the amount of pain they experience.
For the illusion to work patients place their hand inside a box containing a camera, which then projects the image in real time onto a screen in front of them. The subject then sees their arthritic fingers being apparently stretched and shrunk by someone gently pushing and pulling from the other side of the box. The Mirage mind trick has been developed by The University of Nottingham's Psychology department.
Pam Tegerdine, from Nottingham, volunteered for the first study. She has suffered with osteoarthritis since her 30s and now has constant pain in her hands, feet, and lower back. Physiotherapy and numerous prescription drugs help, but she said the optical-illusion technology was like nothing she had ever experienced. "It was a very weird sensation, but as my finger was being 'stretched' it felt more and more comfortable. I just wanted it to stay like that, to keep that image in my head. If this could lead to a drug-free treatment for arthritis then that would be fantastic." The pain reduction worked only when painful parts of the hand were "manipulated" and for a third of the volunteers it temporarily eliminated the pain altogether.

Comment: Wow…. Very interesting stuff!




Too much television may increase future cardiovascular risk for children
Kathleen Doheny writing in Healthday reported, "Young children who spend too much time watching TV or playing computer games have narrower eye arteries than kids who are more physically active," according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. "Narrower arteries are a marker of future cardiovascular risk, and the narrower the vessels, the higher the risk," according to the researchers.

Comment: Another reason to limit video.




Some parents want genetic testing for diseases for their children

Jennifer LaRue Huget writing in the Washington Post reports a study in the journal Pediatrics examines whether parents should "submit your child to a genetic screening test that might predict his or her likelihood of developing lung, skin or colon cancer, type 2 diabetes or another chronic illness as an adult." Parents in this study "were asked whether they'd be willing to subject their children to a genetic screening tool that would assess their risk for the diseases listed above plus osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease." Among the "219 parents participating, mothers were more inclined to be willing than fathers, as were parents who believed their children to be at increased risk of disease."

Comment: Brave New World? Not sure if I would want to know.

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Meditation for Arthritis

Listen to the music, open your mind and visualize your body, mind and spirit relaxing. You'll find that you achieve the same kind of relaxation response, but experience it in a different environment. You will achieve a meditative state with only the sounds around you.

Research shows that listening to the right kind of music can help you:

  • sleep better,
  • enhance your immunity,
  • reduce arthritis pain, and
  • help to lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

Meditation for Arthritis is an audio CD developed for arthritis patients. For the month of May, this CD can be yours for $14.99… a $5.00 savings! Enjoy this audio CD to help relax your mind and body.

Tips for using music for meditation

  1. Keep the volume down. If you are using music for meditation, then make sure that you don’t play the music too loudly. Your music should not dominate your mind. Music should be a serene and relaxing backdrop to your meditation.
  2. Use headphones. Headphones are not always required, but they make the music feel as though it is coming from inside of your own mind. If you are using music for meditation, then you'll want to become deeply absorbed in the music, and the headphones really encourage this. Also, headphones can help to block out external sounds if you are meditating where its a little bit noisy.
  3. Choose the right music. Try not to use music that contains percussion, vocals, or lots of instrumentation. Music should encourage peacefulness and relaxation.
  4. Relax and unwind. Meditation music can help put you into a calm, relaxed state of mind. So, if you choose to meditate with music, taking some time out to unwind while listening to some meditation music will help to prepare you for a deeper meditation experience.

Order Today! 

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A quick reminder:

Visit our practice website. The address is: Arthritis Treatment Center Lots of good info and a daily video blog filled with really good stuff.



Wei's World May 2011



Wei’s World May 2011 It’s no secret that my practice has an active social media presence. The internet has given patients greater access to information that was not available to them ten years ago. And it’s made it easier for our practice to dispense useful information while at the same time showcasing our expertise.

But something very unusual and unexpected happened this past month that I’d like to tell you about.

I was doing some grocery shopping at our local supermarket. Because I’m always on the lookout for interesting tidbits that I can use on my website blog or for our newsletters, I tote a messenger bag around with my day planner and other equipment like a digital camera, a video camera, and a voice recorder.

Well… after doing my shopping, I headed out to my car while talking on my cell phone. I loaded my purchases into the car, left my bag in the cart. .. and drove off. By the time I realized my bag was missing, I was all the way at home… so I flew back to the supermarket and the bag was GONE! The supermarket people said no one had turned in the bag. It was GONE!!

Talk about feeling low. I drove back home. My wife and I made a list of all the credit cards and called the companies… the usual drill.

I was so angry at myself for being so careless and also started worrying that this was an early sign of dementia.

The next morning when I turned on the computer, my Facebook lit up with messages from Cristina Lezama. She and her children had found the bag and tried to contact my office but since it was a Sunday they decided to contact me on me on Facebook.

To make a long story short, not only did I get my bag back with everything intact but I also met the most wonderful people. Mrs Lezama and her kids were delightful.

This episode not only renewed my faith in the goodness of people, but I also discovered a new power of social media.

Plus… what a great story for the newsletter!

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