"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt
I'm going to continue the same format as last month. Arthritis news seems to be what most people enjoy...
Novel topical agent eases pain of osteoarthritis
Bruce Jancin writing for Rheumatology News
reported a study that described a strontium-chloride based
topical agent has shown both effectiveness as well as
safety in patients with osteoarthritis
of the knee. Scientists from
MAC (UK) Neuroscience Ltd. of
Blackpool, England where the
study was conducted recently
reported the findings of a phase II study.
The preparation, a liquid
containing 10% strontium chloride
hexahydrate was more effective
than placebo in an 8 week study.
The medication appears to work by
blocking calcium driven pathways
that are responsible for pain and inflammation.
The preparation is applied 2 times
a day with a roll on applicator.
Comment: As simple as putting on deodorant…
Tea-drinking increases risk of RA?
M Alexander Otto
reports in Rheumatology
News the following tidbit…
Tea drinking may increase
the risk of getting rheumatoid
arthritis according to findings
from the Women’s Health
Initiative Observational Study.
Odds ratios were calculated from
questionnaires. Women who
drank more than 4 cups of tea
per day had a slightly increased
likelihood of getting rheumatoid
arthritis although the finding was
not statistically significant. Two
previous studies have been
published on tea drinking.
One study said tea drinking
protected against RA and the
other showed no difference at
all. If tea does increase the
incidence of RA, it is felt that
flavonoids present in tea may be the culprit.
Comment: Some studies leave me flat… but this one was my cup of tea.
When should polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) patients get a temporal artery biopsy?
According to Bruce Jancin
writing in Rheumatology News,
Dr. Miguel Gonzolez-Gay has
the answers to this perplexing
question… when should PMR
patients get a biopsy of their
temporal artery? He recommends
the following people get biopsies…
1.Patients with classic PMR
plus headache, ringing
in the ears, visual
suggesting brain problems.
2.Patients with PMR
who don’t respond to 15-20 mgs
of prednisone within seven days.
3. Patients with PMR who
have a high fever
or other systemic symptoms.
4. PMR with an ESR
greater than 80 mm/hr.
Comment: I want to utter a word of caution:
PMR may be confused with other
diseases such as rheumatoid
arthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis,
lymphoma, leukemia, multiple
myeloma, bacterial endocarditis
(infected heart valve), other
infections, other malignancies.
And now some stories from Rheumatology Morning...
Protein associated with RA protects against Alzheimer's?
The St. Petersburg Times
(Richard Martin,8/23/ 2010) reports,
"It has been known for some
years that people who suffer
from rheumatoid arthritis are
less likely to develop Alzheimer's
disease. But now, researchers
at the University of South
Florida think they know why.
" Investigators there "found that
a protein released into the
bloodstream of people with
rheumatoid arthritis provided
protection against Alzheimer's
in mice," according to a
study published in the Journal
of Alzheimer's Disease.
"In this study, University
of South Florida researchers
genetically altered mice to
have memory problems similar
to those seen in Alzheimer's
disease," added Caroline
Parkinson from the BBC.
Next, "they...treated them –
and some healthy mice –
with the" GM-CSF "protein.
Other mice -- both healthy
ones and those with Alzheimer's
symptoms -- were given a
The UK's Andre Hough
in the Telegraph, states that,
"after 20 days, researchers
found the memories of
Alzheimer's mice injected
with the protein had improved
substantially compared with
mice treated with a placebo."
According to the UK's Daily Mail
people with rheumatoid
arthritis have to put up with
swollen joints and decreased
mobility, GM-CSF, the unique
protein produced by the disease,
stimulates scavenger cells."
The cells then "remove amyloid
deposits left by Alzheimer's in
the brain, lowering the risk of
catching the disease and helping
to restore memory."
Comment: Interesting stuff indeed.
Which would you rather have?
Taking statins may
reduce risk of RA.
BBC News (9/7) reported, "Taking statins
may reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis,"
according to a study published in the
journal PLOS Medicine. "Israeli
researchers looked at 1.8m patients and
found fewer incidents of the joint
condition among those who took
the cholesterol-busting drugs."
The UK's Press Association (9/8) reports the
researchers theorize that
"statins may inhibit the
development of rheumatoid arthritis...
by affecting immune system
Taking statins did not seem
to prevent osteoarthritis, however,
the study noted.
Comment: Hmmm… is it worth the risk?
Wei's World September 2010
With fall in the air, I thought I’d share a deep, dark secret from my past.
Most people don’t know this about me. In college, I was on the football team. Now you have to understand this was at Swarthmore College, a small Quaker school outside of Philadelphia. If you could fog a mirror, you could be on the football team.
That isn’t to say we didn’t have some good players. We had some very good players who were highly recruited from high school.
I was not one of them.
During my four years, I was at varying times a seventh string quarterback and got up as high as third string by my senior year. .. and that’s only because all the other guys ahead of me stopped playing to pursue other endeavors.
But I stuck with it. My friends were on the team and practice was a welcome break from the tedium and intensity of school work. For two hours a day, I got to take my mind off studying and do something physical.
I was one of the few people who actually looked forward to practice. I was what was called the scout quarterback. In other words, I ran the opposing team’s offense against the starting defense. It was my job to give the defense a good look at what they were going to face on Saturday. And I took that job pretty seriously.
People would sometimes ask me, “Why are you still on the football team… you never get to play?…”
And I understood where they were coming from. It seems stupid to be on a team if you’re never going to play in a game. But what they didn’t realize was that from Monday to Friday those days were my Saturdays. They were my “game days.”
And even if I never got to go in a game on Saturday, I still worked at getting better. I was a far better player as a senior than I was as a freshman… that’s for sure.
And being on a team teaches you a lot about life… getting along with others… the discipline of practice… and about overcoming adversity in general. Our team wasn’t very good and we got our butts kicked quite a bit. But we never quit. And I can say those lessons stood me in good stead for the future. There have been many times in my career as a doctor when it would have been easy to just pack it in, follow the crowd, not make waves, do the easy thing. But I’ve never done that.
Because if you care about something enough, you will try your hardest to be the best. And that’s why I’m telling you this story.