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Insider Arthritis Tips Newsletter September 2011
September 15, 2011
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"Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning." -- Winston Churchill, British prime minister

Insider Arthritis Tips September 2011



Gout Incidence Rising In Younger Men
Jean Jadhon reported on WTVR in Richmond, VA the results of a study that showed younger men are being diagnosed with gout. Rheumatologist Dr. Garry Bayliss explained that some cases are probably genetic, but others are likely caused by diet and obesity. In particular, Bayliss blamed "high use of sweeteners and changes in our diet where high fructose corn syrup is a huge component of the diet." He advocated going back to a simpler diet without such components, saying that may reduce gout incidence.

Comment: The trend that parallels gout most is obesity.


Exercise May Help Age-Related Balance Loss
Carolyn Butler writing in the Washington Post reported on how to maintain one's balance through life. The Post writes that the National Institutes of Health estimate eight million Americans have chronic balance problems, resulting in falls and injuries.
Factors, such as "weakening vision and inner-ear function, as well as diminishing activity level and muscle strength," and "certain neurological diseases and conditions, some medications, obesity and arthritis," all contribute to decreasing balance.
The Post points out that yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are among exercise options to improve and maintain balance.

Comment: Exercise is something that needs to be Started as soon as possible so that it Becomes a habit, like brushing Your teeth!


TNF Inhibitors May Increase Skin cancer Risk In RA Patients
Janis Kelly writing in Medscape reported, "Data from over 20,000 US military veterans show that nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) risk is about one third higher for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors than for similar patients treated with nonbiologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)," according to a study published in Rheumatology.
"Incidence of NMSC was 18.9/100 patient-years in patients receiving TNF inhibitors and 12.7/100 patient-years in patients receiving nonbiologic DMARDs." Increased risk was seen "in patients who were older, were male, had used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or glucocorticoids, or had prior malignancies."

Comment: This is the first and only association so far of cancer with TNF inhibitors.




Turmeric for tennis elbow?
Dr Ananya Mandal reported in Medical News that a new study shows that turmeric – a common culinary spice could help in the treatment of painful tendonitis which includes the conditions known as tennis or golfer's elbow. Dr Ali Mobasheri, of the University of Nottingham's school of veterinary medicine and science, stressed that this does not mean that turmeric or curries should be considered a “cure” for tendonitis or arthritis. He added, “We believe that it could offer scientists an important new lead in the treatment of these painful conditions through nutrition.”
For their study, the researchers at the University of Nottingham in London and Ludwig Maximilians University in Germany have described laboratory experiments that show the ingredient can switch off inflammatory cell cycle involved. In the laboratory, researchers used a culture model of human tendon inflammation to study the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin on tendon cells.
Results showed that curcumin inhibits NFkB and prevents it from switching on and promoting inflammation.

Comment: Gotta love that spicy Indian food!


Surgeries May Provide Faster Relief For Osteoporosis Patients
Laura Dean writing in Medwire reported "A literature review conducted by the International Osteoporosis Foundation concludes that vertebroplasty (VP) and balloon kyphoplasty (BKP) provide quicker pain relief and mobility recovery than non-surgical management (NSM) of patients with vertebral compression fractures (VCFs)," although osteoporosis experts cautioned that BKP and VP are not substitutes for managing the condition. Experts noted that "VCFs are the most prevalent fractures in osteoporotic patients." The research was published in Osteoporosis International.

Comment: Treating the pain is not the same as treating the underlying illness!


Toddler's Arthritis Almost Leads to Blindness

Kim Carollo writing for the online edition of ABC News described the ordeal of 10 year old Julia Fong of Los Angeles. When she was 2, her parents, Milton and Eileen Fong, learned she suffered from juvenile idiopathic arthritis, which is also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Just a year later, her parents got more disturbing news about Julia: Doctors diagnosed a condition called uveitis, which causes an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. It can ultimately cause blindness.
Milton Fong called the possibility of his daughter's blindness "a parent's greatest nightmare." The couple had no idea their daughter's eyesight was in jeopardy.
"Because you don't see any outward symptoms, you assume everything is OK, and that may not be the case," said Eileen Fong. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis are the most common causes of uveitis in children. Like Julia, children with uveitis often exhibit no symptoms of any eye disease. Adults with certain types of uveitis may experience a range of symptoms, including pain, redness and vision problems.

Comment: Arthritis affects people of all ages. Complications such as uveitis are easy to miss and are hard to treat.


Implanted Neck Device May Be Future Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Carol Eustice writing in about.com reported the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam is studying a whole new approach for treating rheumatoid arthritis that would involve implanting a pacemaker like chip in the neck of the patient. The implanted device would inhibit joint inflammation – based on the theory that rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are caused by interactions between the nervous system and immune system.
Ten study participants, from several European countries, will have the device implanted in their neck to stimulate the vagus nerve (one of the cranial nerves). Vagus nerve stimulation has been used to treat epilepsy and depression.
Researchers suggest that stimulating the nerve for one minute a day will inhibit inflammation and slow joint damage. The Dutch Arthritis Association is reportedly "cautiously optimistic" as they await results which the researchers hope to publish next year.

Comment: How about that! Hope that don’t push the juice too high…


Volleyball Players Have High Incidence Of Jumper's Knee
Amy Norton writing in Reuters reported that volleyball players, compared to six other recreational sports, have the highest incidence of patellar tendinopathy, or jumper's knee. Researchers attribute this to the hard surfaces and constant jumping in volleyball. Anecdotes suggest that beach volleyball players have fewer knee problems. Researchers recommend rest, early treatment, and having physical therapy before the tendon degenerates. The study was published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Comment: And don’t forget about platelet rich plasma PRP which is I believe the treatment of choice


Report: Colon Cleansing Lacks Evidence To Support Its Use
Val Willingham writing for CNN reported doctors say "there's no evidence.. .colon cleansing treatments work and, in fact, when used improperly can cause cramping, kidney failure, and in some extreme cases, death." CNN reports that in early in the 20th century, "the American Medical Association determined...that the procedure was invalid. " Researchers studied reports of colon cleaning, which reported few benefits but many side effects, up to renal failure and toxicity from ingredients in the cleansing preparations. They also noted that often, facilities that offer such cleansings do not have licensed clinicians. The authors of the study, published in the Journal of Family Practice, advocated instead a healthy lifestyle: proper sleeping, diet, exercise, and regular checkups.

Comment: Sometimes alternative therapies can be carried a bit too far…


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Wei’s World September 2011

Like most people I have a comfort zone. Sticking with what I know and have experienced is the easy route. But the problem with sticking with the comfortable is that you don’t really grow. You only grow if you try new things. So through the years, I‘ve forced myself to try new things even if they didn’t necessarily appeal to me. Sometimes I regret it, but often I’m surprised at how much I enjoy the new experiences.

So let me share some examples from this past summer.

The first was a yoga class. I tried yoga once many years ago and it was a disaster. The class was filled with young women wearing spandex getting into positions that would put me in the intensive care unit. So I left after two minutes.

The thought of doing yoga again was not appealing. Quite frankly, I’m not as flexible as I used to be and seeing those positions always worried me. What if I couldn’t get into them… and worse… what if I couldn’t get out of them?

But my wife persuaded me to go with her to a Saturday morning yoga class. She said most of the students were older women and there were some men. She promised no one would laugh at me. So I agreed, rather reluctantly. And to my surprise I liked it.

In fact, it was one of the most calming yet strenuous workouts I’ve ever tried. Weird. I’m glad I did it. And I didn’t injure one body part.

The second new experience was a vegan restaurant. This didn’t turn out quite as well. We have friends who have some food issues so the only restaurant we could agree upon for a brunch was a vegan restaurant. When I got there, I looked at the menu and thought, “Oh no…” Everything was soy this, tofu that. No eggs. No bacon. No sausage. No good stuff. I wound up getting pancakes and fake sausage. Don’t get me wrong… I think the food was good. Just not my style. But as I said, sometimes you try new things and they don’t work out.

Finally, this past month I celebrated my 62nd birthday. Hard to believe. For my birthday gift, my wife bought a surfing lesson for me. (Now… I had just gotten a new life insurance policy but I don’t think there was any connection.) I had always wanted to try surfing but I felt that maybe time had passed me by. Anyhow, I had a blast. In fact, I signed up for another lesson with my son and his friend two days later. Surfing is wonderful. I can’t describe the feeling but it’s like the first time you ride a bike. All I can say is “Wow!”

So… two out of three. Not bad. And, I survived the vegan food experience.

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