"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.
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
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
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
Comment: Treating the pain is not the same as
treating the underlying illness!
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
Milton Fong called the possibility of his
daughter's blindness "a parent's greatest
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.
Device May Be
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
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
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
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
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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.