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Insider Arthritis Tips Newsletter December 2011
December 06, 2011

"It isn't where you came from; it's where you're going that counts." -- Ella Fitzgerald, jazz singer

This month you’ll notice two new things in our newsletter.

First, A short monologue on my thoughts about the month of December.

Second, a special offer that’s time sensitive, which will explain why you’re getting your newsletter early.


December is a month I have mixed feelings about. It’s not like January which is raw, cold, and generally terrible. Still, it’s a month that’s usually cold with days that are short and dark. But, it has Christmas.

When I was growing up, I loved December. From the time I was three years old until I turned 11, my family lived in Norwich, NY, a small town in the central part of the state.

My earliest memories of December were of my father putting the tire chains on the old green Chevy. My next memory was of the many evenings in church. I actually didn’t mind church then.

It was a festive time of the year, for sure, (it was a Methodist church) and we sang a lot of Christmas carols.

The music continued at home. My dad sang and my mom played the piano. (Later on, I had to take piano and violin lessons, which I really hated to do). But at Christmas time, I would take out the violin at the suggestion, or rather, urging of my parents and play Christmas carols along with my mom and dad.

I certainly don’t remember there being so much shopping hoopla as there is today. And the holiday decorations in the stores definitely didn’t appear until well after Thanksgiving. Things were a whole lot simpler. I do remember one incident when my mom took me to see Santa. I sat on his lap and when he asked me what I wanted to get for Christmas, I pulled his beard off. I was curious but he didn’t seem too happy about it. I forget what I asked for… but I’m sure I didn’t get it.

For one thing my parents didn’t have a lot of money.

I can remember going out with my dad to the Christmas tree lot. He would buy the tree a day or two before Christmas, when it was pretty obvious the guy wanted to get rid of whatever he had left. We usually got a pretty ugly tree. But, I didn’t really care. It was a Christmas tree and it smelled good. Sometimes it was a tree with short needles; sometimes, it had long needles.

It really didn’t matter.

And when my dad got the tree home, he would set it up in the Christmas tree stand. We would decorate it with a few strings of lights and tinsel and those shiny bulbs that would shatter if you dropped them. And I dropped my share of them. At the top of the tree, we would put another ornament. I can remember some years it was an angel and other years it was a big star. The presents would go under the tree. I was the oldest but pretty soon I had a brother and two sisters. We’d pick the presents up and shake them and try to guess what was inside.

It was real hard for us to wait until Christmas morning. We usually opened the gifts on Christmas Eve right after we got home from church. Clothes and books is what I remember getting. Not a lot of toys.

As we got older and left home, we would still all try to get home for Christmas. My mom would cook a great meal. We mostly gave gifts to our mom and dad. Then, we’d watch football on the television and eat and sleep and just try to recreate the feeling of being kids again.

Arthritis News for December 2011

Knee osteoarthritis affecting younger people
A study from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and presented at the annual American College of Rheumatology meeting presented disturbing conclusions. Since the early 1990s, the age of onset of physician-diagnosed symptomatic knee OA has shifted dramatically, occurring on average 16 years earlier in life. If the current incidence trend continues, nearly 6.5 million Americans between the ages of 35 and 84 will be diagnosed with symptomatic knee OA in the next 10 years, with those ages 45-64 accounting for more than half of these incident cases. This could potentially lead to a spike in the utilization of healthcare, specifically total knee replacements, and could have a dramatic economic impact and place additional burden on the healthcare system.

Comment: Hopefully new developments in stem cell technology will prevent this from happening.

Biologic Drug Use In RA Patients Cuts Multiple Risks
Nancy Walsh writing in MedPage Today reported, "Long-term treatment with the biologic agent Enbrel reduces a rheumatoid arthritis patient's risk of heart attack and malignancy, and may also reduce the risk of death, when compared with therapy using disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs," according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.

Comment: Biologic drugs should be used earlier in patients with RA.

Botulinum toxin blocks inflammation
Layra Cassaday writing in Chemical and Engineering News reported on a study published in the journal Biochemistry. She said, “Although the potent neurotoxins secreted by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum can cause paralysis and death, doctors sometimes inject tiny doses of the toxins under the skin. They do so to treat muscle spasms, relieve migraine headaches, and smooth away wrinkles.” Researchers from the University of Wisconsin studied botulinum toxin in a mouse model of inflammation. They found that the toxin inhibited the migration of cells called macrophages, cells that are key to the inflammatory process. By stopping macrophage migration, the researchers found that there was a reduction in the amount of TNF alpha, a chemical that is a potent cause of inflammation.

Comment: Get your wrinkles done at the same time you take care of your arthritis

Time for stopping RA drugs before surgery arbitrary
Nancy Walsh writing in MedPage Today reported a study from the Hospital for Special Surgery presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. When patients with rheumatoid arthritis are scheduled for orthopedic surgery, crucial anti-tumor necrosis factor inhibitors are stopped for periods that may be longer than necessary – exposing patients to the risk of disease flares, researchers found.

Comment: This is a problem that needs to be studied further.

Skin Problems Common with certain drugs In RA Patients
Nancy Walsh writing in MedPage reported, "Skin lesions appear to be common among rheumatoid arthritis patients who are treated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists," according to data presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. "The researchers noted that a significantly higher occurrence of skin problems was observed among patients treated with Remicade infliximab. When Arava was used in combination with biologic agents, the risk of a skin lesion was also significantly increased. Concomitant steroid drugs also increased the risk of skin problems.

Comment: Danger of arthritis drugs needs To be watched!

Dancing Reduces Falls In Elderly
In a report in the Telegraph, Professor Tracey Howe, of Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "Elderly people should waltz around the living room three times a week to reduce their risk of falls, research suggests." Other suggestions include carrying a bag while walking. However, "walking and cycling, although good for overall health, are no good at reducing the number of falls." The research is published in The Cochrane Library.

Comment: Fred Astaire was onto something… And if you have to ask who Fred Astaire was…

Stretching joint delays knee replacement
M. Alexander Otto writing in Rheumatology News described a study from the Netherlands that showed that patients who had pins inserted to separate the femur from the tibia for a two month period had cartilage growth stimulated. This lead to pain reduction and improved function for at least two years. The study involved 20 patients. According to senior investigator Dr. Floris Lafeber, “The hope is that the patients will never need an artificial knee…”

Comment: Ouch!

Pain increases muscle strength
M. Alexander Otto writing in Rheumatology News reported on a randomized controlled study involving 27 people. The Danish study showed that after 8 weeks of strength training, subjects whose knees were injected with a painful hypertonic saline solution before each workout had quadriceps (thigh) muscles that were 22% stronger; the quadriceps of peers that didn’t get the painful injections were 7% stronger.

Comment: No pain… no gain.

Hip revision risk
M. Alexander Otto writing in Rheumatology News described a study from Harvard Medical School that examined risk factors for need for revision surgery in the future. These included a BMI greater than 30, a cemented femur implant stem, a prior hip replacement on the other side, a previous orthopedic surgery, or an age younger than 75.

Comment: Stuff to think about if you’re contemplating a hip replacement.

Oral calcitonin for knee osteoarthritis?
M. Alexander Otto reporting in Rheumatology News described a study from Denmark, where Oral salmon calcitionin reduced stiffness and pain , improved physical function, and slowed cartilage loss according to a 2-year placebo controlled trial of 1,169 patients. Dr. Morton Karsdal of Nordic Bioscience, the sponsor of the study, reiterated that “oral salmon calcitonin is safe and has sustained structure modifying effects.”

Comment: I need to see it to believe it.

No Increased Infection With TNF Inhibitors? Amanda Gerdner reported for CNN that a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicated "A class of injectable drugs used to treat autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis doesn't raise the risk of serious infection when compared with more conventional treatments." This result "contradicts numerous earlier studies that did find an increased risk of infection associated with " tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. Lead study author Carlos G. Grijalva, MD said the "findings 'should be reassuring for patients and providers."

Comment: I’m not sure I agree… infections do seem to be increased in patients on these drugs.

New Drug, Tofacitinib, Effective In RA
Nancy Walsh writing in MedPage Today reported, "A new type of medicine, called a Janus kinase inhibitor showed efficacy in patients with longstanding rheumatoid arthritis, compared with placebo in a Phase III trial" according to a presentation "at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. 48.2% of patients who received 10 mg twice daily of the drug, named tofacitinib achieved the primary endpoint of a 20% improvement at three months, as did 41.7% of those receiving 5 mg twice each day," compared to "24.4% of those on placebo.

Comment: Progress .. oral drug

Early hardening of the arteries in RA
Nancy Walsh writing in MedPage Today Reported on a study appearing in the journal, Arthritis and Rheumatism, "Subclinical carotid atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries was already present and progressing in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who did not have known cardiovascular disease, "among a population of 158 patients with RA," the plaque inside the carotid arteries increased in 82% by a median of 16 µm per year.”

Comment: Disturbing!

RA Patients May Need Arthritis Drugs For Life
Ira Kantor writing in the Boston Herald reported that "Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers who stop taking the prescription drug Enbrel may experience a painful return of symptoms within a matter of weeks." Dr. Donald Bloch of Massachusetts General Hospital's Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology Department said, "The reason people haven't toyed more with the idea of trying to take people off Enbrel is the fear that it won't be able to go back in remission."

Comment: It’s true!

Six Months Of Chondroitin May Help With Hand OA
Nancy Walsh writing in Medpage Today Reported on a study published in Arthritis and Rheumatism Which showed, "Six months of treatment with chondroitin led to significant improvements in pain and function among patients with osteoarthritis in their hands, a single-center randomized trial found. Global hand pain rated on a 100-mm visual analog scale fell by 20 mm for patients taking chondroitin, compared with 11.3 mm for patients receiving placebo. ... In addition, scores on the 30-point Functional Index for \Hand OA decreased by 2.9 points in the chondroitin group and by 0.7 points in the placebo group." Researchers suggested that "the benefits of [chondroitin] appear to take several months to develop, but with hardly any side effects, and this could help reduce the need for long-term [NSAID] therapy in patients with hand OA."

Comment: Interesting stuff… and safe!

Ridding body of old cells delays aging
Mary Marcus writing in Healthday reported a Mayo clinic study where “ scientists came up with a way to eliminate "senescent" cells – old cells that stop working properly but still stick around the body, damaging healthy tissues, explained study author Dr. Jan van Deursen, a professor of pediatrics, molecular biology and biochemistry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The elimination was accomplished by using a drug to activate p16, a gene that is more highly expressed in older cells, in such a way that triggers a "'suicide gene' within senescent cells." The mice who received the drug "kept age-related problems at bay, including cataracts and loss of muscle mass and strength" as well as "spinal arthritis." The treated mice also had a "considerably higher" activity level. Researchers emphasize that "the research is early and has not yet moved into experiments in humans" but say the ultimate question is whether removing senescent cells can "delay cancer, dementias, atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity and its complications as a group."

Comment: Wow!!!

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Just in time for the Holidays…The arthritis pain technology breakthrough…

How to get soothing relief from pain and stress whenever you want… it’s like having a massage therapist at your beck and call!

Ever have a bad day when every muscle and joint in your body is screaming at you… and you wished there was quick relief?

Well… there is… and it’s as simple and easy as picking up your phone to make a call. That’s all it takes to order your HT-7120, the computerized therapeutic total-body massage miracle designed for the arthritis sufferer.

Shaped like an easy chair, the HT-7120 is designed to follow the natural contour of your body and perform like the best massage therapists and chiropractors! The patented Human Touch system works as an integrated system of “hands, wrists, and arms” to give you a clinically proven therapeutic medical massage when you need it in the comfort of your own home… but that’s not all…

It features:

  1. Five invigorating auto-massage programs including rolling, kneading, compression, percussion. And combined percussion with kneading. The tension and tightness in your muscles just melts away.
  2. Full-body stretch to increase blood flow to the vertebrae and discs effectively rejuvenating your lower back to smooth away nagging pain.
  3. Penetrating invigorating neck massage to relieve upper back tension leaving you feeling energized.
  4. Dual lumbar heat modules reduce tightness and pain, calming and soothing your achy back muscles, preparing them for a more restorative massage. The heat expands blood vessels rushing nutrient-rich blood to sore, tense muscles to promote healing.
  5. Power recline allows you to adjust the correct angle with degree specific accuracy for maximum comfort. Using the patented Massage Comfort Control, you can easily adjust the comfort setting of the back rest and transform this powerful therapeutic device into a luxurious home theater chair at the touch of a button… the only chair in its price range that offers this feature.
  6. Deep-well foot and calf massager. This is accomplished with an upward rolling motion. The rotating multispeed unit gently pushes blood away from the feet towards your body’s core allowing fresh nutrient-rich blood to re-enter the calves and feet for soothing, healing comfort.

You might think of a massage this effective available only as a luxury in exotic spas and upscale health clubs. But did you know that massage therapy, when combined with traditional medical treatments, is used to reduce stress and pain and promote healing in people with health conditions like arthritis?

The HT-7120 does what you tell it to do, from the ergonomic headrest to the rotating calf and foot massager. You customize each movement to your own preference.

Just in time for the holidays

And now you can get a great deal during the month of December when you order the HT-7120 for yourself or for someone you love.

If you order through us, you get the entire Human Touch package which includes their free White Glove delivery and set-up service, plus the two-year free protection program.

And you get the following as well:

  • $100.00 instant rebate from us when your HT-7120 is delivered.
  •  Therapeutic, doctor-recommended, linear traction neck pillow
  • A jar of our famously effective Blue Relief Arthritis Ointment
  • An autographed copy of Dr. Wei’s book, “How to Erase Arthritis”

Plus, you get a written prescription that allows a potential tax deduction for a healthcare-related product!

Total value of bonuses: $100.00 rebate + White glove free shipping and set-up ($425.00) + Linear Traction Pillow ($39.43) + Blue Relief ($19.99) + autographed copy of Dr. Wei’s Book, “How You Can Erase Arthritis” ($29.99) = $614.41!!

Plus the prescription for a potential tax deduction!

But you must order the HT-7120 from us in order to enjoy these bonuses…

Place your order now. Call 301-694-5800 and tell Rena or Marianne you want to order the HT-7120 and have it delivered now in time for the holidays.

The list price for the HT-7120 is $3199. [You can check out the available colors at]

NOTE: The HT-7120 is a quantum leap upgrade to the older model HT-125 which was a best seller 3 years ago.

Call 301-694-5800 and tell Rena or Marianne you want to order the chair now… Happy Holidays!!

“I like all of the features that the chair offers, but I like the kneading most of all, as it runs up and down my back. I use it every few days. I’m always trying to recommend the chair to other people because it really does work. I think that the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland has really helped me manage my arthritis health.” Mary Shober –Frederick, Maryland

“I purchased a Human Touch after sitting in it once. I decided that it would be a good thing to have. It’s like having a masseuse. It feels great on my legs and I enjoy sitting in it very much. It’s comfortable and I would recommend it to anyone who would enjoy a massage.” Richard O’Connor –Frederick, Maryland

“I use the chair’s benefits twice a day for fifteen minutes to relive pain in my lower back. It was a great investment. It’s extremely comfortable that I sit in it all the time. In fact, I just purchased a second chair for my daughter, who says her back feels so much better.” Charlotte Reeves –Sykesville, Maryland

“Everyone who comes to visit loves using my chair. I like using my chair, and I try to use it at least three times a week. Not only does it help ease my joints, but helps me get rid of the tension in my neck. I purchased the dark red chair, which looks great with my other furniture. When the colder temperatures arrive, I look forward to using the heat features.” Barbara Wallace –Woodbine, Maryland

“I named my chair, Helga, the Swedish masseuse…” Dave Pendleton - Frederick, Maryland

Wei’s World December 2011

If you’re a parent, then you’re going to appreciate my thoughts. As your kids grow up and become involved in different activities, you basically become a taxi service and schedule keeper for them. My wife and I have four children. With each child there were different hobbies to ferry them around to: gymnastics, T-ball, soccer, acting lessons, lacrosse, horseback riding, skating, and too many others to mention. It was exhausting. My friends who were older and had children that had already left the nest told me: “Enjoy it now because it’s the best time,” and I thought they were crazy. But now I see they were right.

My wife and I, over time, find ourselves missing those days. We’ll sometimes drive by a soccer field and reminisce, “Remember when we took Benji to soccer practice?”

Back then, the trips were limited in their geography. Even though there were travel teams, the travel was usually manageable within the day or the weekend. So with the kids at home, the distances traveled were relatively limited. But as the kids left the house for college and beyond, it became apparent that in order to see the kids in their new activities, my wife and I really had to travel.

Our daughter lives in Boston and works at Harvard so that’s a trek. And our son, Jeffrey, is a musical theater performer, so we find ourselves traveling all over the country to see him perform. Benji is in college in Maine, so to watch him play rugby, that’s another trip… And our youngest, Emily, goes to school in upstate New York.

I think you get the picture. But sometimes we’re called upon to do other things that remind us of when the kids were little. This story is a real gem:

Recently, we went up to see Benji for Parent’s Weekend at Bowdoin College. It was typical Benji. His dorm is located on the far end of campus and – get this- it has no laundry facilities! So we asked him, “When was the last time you did your laundry Benji?” His answer was “Uhhh… I’m not sure… it’s been a while…”

Since he was studying for exams and had rugby practice, you guessed it. My wife and I spent an afternoon doing his laundry. The laundromat was one of those ones where you stuck a 10 dollar bill in a changer and got a fistful of quarters. Then you immediately started feeding these machines. Some other parents were there too so we didn’t feel alone.

When I talk about laundry, I mean LAUNDRY- bags and bags full of it. As we were finishing up later, my wife, Judy, said to me, “This is a good one for Wei’s World.”

I think you’ll agree.

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