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Insider Arthritis Tips Newsletter November 2010
November 15, 2010

"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes in to us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands, and hopes we've learned something from yesterday."
-- John Wayne, Actor

Here's more arthritis news from this past month...

Participation In Gymnastics In Childhood May Have Long-Term Skeletal Benefits.

Laura Dean in Medwire reported that, according to a study published in the journal Osteoporosis International, "participation in gymnastics, a high-impact physical activity, during childhood and early adolescence has long-term skeletal benefits throughout growth and early-adulthood." In a study of " 14 non-gymnasts and six gymnasts who stopped training between six months before starting menstrual periods and one year after periods started, " researchers "found that girls who took part in more than six hours of gymnastic training per week for at least two years before the menstrual cycle had significantly greater bone mineral density (BMD) than non-gymnasts, which persisted for at least four years after the onset of menstrual periods."

Comment: Interesting, since I thought gymnastics tended to create a lot of injuries in young people.

Strong marriages improve RA

Newswise reported a study in The Journal of Pain, showing a strong, non-distressed marriage is associated with experiencing less pain and enjoying better functioning and quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers conducting a multicenter study involving 255 patients examined the relationships of marital status and marital adjustment to pain and physical disability in RA patients. The researchers reported that among married subjects, better martial adjustment was associated with less psychological disability and marginally less pain. The findings strongly suggest that being married may have benefits for health status, provided the marriage is well adjusted.

Comment: This is one article I’ll let my wife know about

Unigene product useful for Osteoarthritis?

Unigene Labs released information on the first of two studies on oral calcitonin for the treatment of osteoarthritis The study looked at the safety and effectiveness of oral calcitonin in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. No effect on knee cartilage was seen by x-ray but there were slight changes noted on MRI scan. Symptoms seemed to improve.

Comment: Bottom line is calcitonin might help with pain a bit but there’s not much else there. Oh well… back to the drawing board.

Increasing Vitamin D Intake May Not Provide Better Outcomes For People With Knee OA.

John Gever in MedPage Today reported that, according to research presented at the American College of Rheumatology's annual meeting, "taking more vitamin D doesn't appear to significantly lessen symptoms or slow progression of osteoarthritis of the knee (knee OA)." A two-year randomized trial of 146 patients "with knee OA found that those who greatly increased their vitamin D intake had reduced pain scores as assessed by the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) of about 2.14 points compared with a reduction of 1.20 points among patients taking placebo -- but the difference did not achieve statistical significance ." "Similarly, there was no substantial differences in knee cartilage volume and thickness between those people taking vitamin D and those taking placebo,"

Comment: So… vitamin D is not the panacea we thought it was!

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages May Increase Risk Of Gout In Women.

Karen Kaplan writing in the LA Times "Booster Shots" blog reported that sugar-sweetened beverages may "increase the risk of gout" in women, according to a study published online Nov. 9 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. After examining data on approximately 79,000 women, researchers found that, "compared with a baseline group of women who drank less than one serving of a sugary soda per month, those who drank one soda per day had a 74% increased risk of gout." The study authors pointed out that "fructose consumption prompts the body to make more uric acid, the substance that causes tiny crystals of urate to build up in the joints and cause arthritis."

Comment: Another reason to avoid soft drinks!

Treating RA Patients With Anti-TNF Drugs May Lessen Their Likelihood Of Alzheimer's.

John Gever reporting in MedPage Today stated that, according to research presented at the American College of Rheumatology's annual meeting, "treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) drugs appears to lessen their likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease." After analyzing claims data from "a large medical and pharmacy claims database that included 8.5 million US adults," researchers found that "use of anti-TNF therapy was associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease. Both rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease seem to be caused by inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.

Comment: Very important finding. Could anti-TNF drugs be used for Alzheimer’s?

Marathon Runners May Not Be At Greater Risk For Developing Arthritis.

Gretchen Reynold writing in the New York Times reported, "The idea that distance running can cause arthritis is deeply entrenched. One study from the University of California at San Francisco in particular found, through the use of more sensitive type of MRI technology evidence of "significant biochemical changes in the runners' knee cartilage, particularly in the days immediately after the race." But one expert points out that "adaptive transformations may underlie the cartilage changes seen in the UCSF marathon study." In other words, says Anthony Luke, MD, "the same signals on an MRI that would suggest early arthritis in a sedentary person's knee 'may indicate some kind of necessary adaptation' in the knees of a marathoner."

Comment: So… if you want to lace up those Nikes, just do it!

FDA Adds Femur Fracture Warning to Bisphosphonate Use

Robert Lowes writing in Medscape reported that bisphosphonate drugs approved for the treatment of osteoporosis will now bear a label warning about the possible increased risk for 2 types of femur fractures. One type of break, subtrochanteric femur fracture, occurs just below the hip joint. Another type, diaphyseal femur fracture, is in the long part of the bone. Both are very uncommon, accounting for less than 1% of all hip and femur fractures overall. The FDA's decision to add a warning about the fractures to the labels of bisphosphonates comes in the wake of a recommendation to do so by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Of 310 cases of atypical femur fractures under study, 94% of the patients had been taking bisphosphonates, most for more than 5 years. The FDA noted today that atypical femur fractures also happen to people not taking bisphosphonates. While not an emergency, I think this means we Need to be cautious in patients who Are taking these drugs.

Comment: We need to change that old saying, “Sticks and stones and bisphosphonates may break my bones…”

Yoga May Benefit Fibromyalgia Patients Who Get No Relief From Prescription Drugs.

Carina Storrs reporting in CNN health noted Recent research demonstrating, "Fibromyalgia patients who aren't getting relief from prescription drugs and are in too much pain to exercise may want to try yoga," according to a study published in the journal Pain. "A weekly two-hour yoga class reduced fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and stiffness by 30 percent in more than half of the people who took it," the study found. Jenifer Goodwin in Healthday added "after eight weeks, the yoga group reported improvements in both physical and psychological aspects of fibromyalgia, including decreased pain, fatigue, tenderness, anxiety, and better sleep and mood."

Comment: Alternative therapies are worth a try… and even more importantly they seem to work for many FM patients.

A quick notice:

Visit our new practice website. The address is:

Lots of good info and a daily video blog with really good stuff.

Wei's World November 2010

When you run a private practice, you’re essentially running a small business. And, if you have a business you understand the difficulties and pressures involved. If you don’t, I’m here to tell you that it’s not an easy task. But then again, life itself isn’t easy.

So the best thing to do is work hard, do your best, and study good principles. And I’m not just talking about business principles. Sometimes, the best principles are ones that are relevant to everyone.

I came across this little gem a while back and it struck me as having an important message for anyone, because we all experience times when we feel on top of the world and maybe a bit smug about ourselves… and there are other times when we feel so down, so alone, as if the weight of the world was pressing down on us…

So, here it is…

It’s the subject of a sermon delivered by Robert Schuller as related by one of my mentors, the late Jim Rohn…

“If you think it’s impossible, it isn’t…
If you think you know everything you don’t…
If you think you’re alone, you’re not…”

Remarkable isn’t it? Short and sweet.

To illustrate, let me recount the story of Rich DeVos as told by Mr. Rohn. Rich DeVos was one of the founders of Amway. He needed a heart transplant. If he didn’t get one, he was not going to last very long.

Now… let’s fast forward.

Here’s the interesting part of the story. Shortly after he got his heart transplant, he had lunch with the woman who gave him her heart.

“Impossible,” you say.

Well… here’s what happened. This lady was desperately ill and needed a lung transplant. A donor was found. Sometimes it’s better with a lung transplant if the heart and lungs go together. The woman got the heart and lung transplant she needed. So now her heart was left over.

And her heart went to Rich DeVos.

And that’s how Rich De Vos was able to have lunch with the lady who gave him her heart!

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