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Insider Arthritis Tips April 2012
April 15, 2012
"Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve." -- Leonardo da Vinci, Artist
Aspirin Cuts Cancer Risk
Simeon Bennett writing in Bloomberg News reported that individuals "who took a daily dose of aspirin had a 24 percent lower rate of developing cancer after three years and were 37 percent less likely to die from the disease after five years than those who didn't, according to a study in The Lancet." This "rate was similar for men and women." Two additional "studies published in The Lancet and The Lancet Oncology... showed that aspirin reduced the risk of any cancer spreading to other organs by 36 percent and certain types of tumors by 46 percent."
Comment: Aspirin… the wonder drug!
Foods Interact With Drugs
Judy Hevrdejs writing in the Chicago Tribune
reported certain "foods and beverages...
as well as dietary supplements (vitamins, herbals, etc.)
and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can interact
with prescription drugs when they land in your gut"
possibly affecting "the ability of the drug to work as
it should" or producing "unwanted side effects."
As the number of drugs a patient takes increases,
interactions with food become more important. "
A survey published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association that found in the population 57 and older
in the US, 'at least 80 percent use at least
one prescription drug. Half of them use OTC
drugs. And some use dietary supplements.'"
During Treatment With
Helen Albert writing in Medwire
reported, "Central nervous system (CNS)
demyelination risk may be higher than previously
believed in psoriasis and other inflammatory disease
patients taking tumor necrosis factor α (TNF) antagonists,"
according to a study published in the Journal of
Dermatological Treatment. In the study,
researchers "report data on 65 patients who experienced
CNS demyelination following treatment with TNF antagonists
for arthritis (rheumatoid or psoriatic), psoriasis, Crohn's
disease and other inflammatory disorders." Notably,
"symptoms of demyelination occurred between two
and six months from TNF antagonist commencement
in 42% of patients and within one year of
commencement in 92% of patients."
Ability To Exercise
Gretchen Reynolds writing in the
New York Times reported
"For years, physicians and scientists
have been aware that statins, the most
widely prescribed drugs in the world,
can cause muscle aches and fatigue in
some patients," but "many people don't
know...that these side effects are especially
pronounced in people who exercise."
Reynolds points to one study in rats that
found that "over all, the study data
showed that working out while taking statins
'exacerbated metabolic perturbations' in muscles."
Pycnogenol Studies Too
Flawed To Prove Efficacy
Anahad O’Connor writing in the New York Times
reported on research into pycnogenol,
which is an extract from "French pine bark"
that can be made into a supplement that
users claim "strengthens cardiovascular
systems and eases symptoms of chronic
disorders like asthma, osteoarthritis and
chronic venous insufficiency." However,
an overview of research on the substance
published in the Cochrane Database of
Systematic Reviews "found that most
of the studies on the supplement were
too flawed to prove its efficacy."
Increasing Interest In Massage Therapy
Andrea Petersen writing in the Wall Street Journal
reported on an increase of scientific
interest in massage therapy. For instance,
the National Center for Complementary and
Alternative Medicine is spending $2.7 million
on research into massage, compared with $1.5
million in 2002. According to the Journal,
research has suggested that massage may
improve immune function in breast cancer
patients, asthma in children, and
osteoarthritis. Researchers are currently
studying massage as therapy for
generalized anxiety disorder.
RA Drugs Hold
Promise for MS
Greg Williams writing in the UAB
News reported that UAB researchers
feel that a new class of drugs for
rheumatoid arthritis may be useful for
treating multiple sclerosis. The findings
are timely because STATs are part of the
JAK-STAT pathway targeted by a new
class of JAK inhibitors, the first of which
are expected to finish clinical trials for
the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
and seek regulatory approval this year.
Such drugs should be considered for
the treatment of MS, say the authors,
who already are conducting pre-clinical
studies. STAT3-signaling is known to
activate microglia and monocytes, the
immune cells of the brain and macrophage
scavengers that collect and dispose of
damaged tissue or invading bacteria.
They can promote either injury or repair
in the central nervous system, depending
on the signals they get.
Emily Walker writing in MedPage Today
explained that the drug makers "all
agree there is a signal linking the use
of anti-NGF drugs and deterioration
of the joints, but they say it's caused
by patients using anti-NGF drugs along
with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs (NSAIDs) and have recommended
that if the drugs are marketed patients
not use them alongside NSAIDs."
Panel "members agreed that the
class of drugs is linked to joint destruction
but said the evidence is not well-understood
on whether anti-NGF drugs
cause osteonecrosis and how they
interact with other drugs."
Crystal Phend writing in MedPage Today
reported that "low vitamin D levels,
common among women in nursing
homes, may raise their risk of dying
within a few years, Austrian researchers
found." According to the story, "women
with the worst deficiency, at 14 nmol/L
serum vitamin D or less, were 49%
more likely to die over a period of about
two years than those with the highest levels."
Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes
Increased Risk Of Atrial Fibrillation
Robert Preidt writing for Healthday commented
on a study appearing in the BMJ
Investigators found that people with RA had a
nearly 40 percent increased risk of atrial
fibrillation compared to those in the general population –
- 8.2 events per 1,000 person years for those with RA
and six events per 1,000 person years for the general
population." In addition, participants "with RA had a
more than 30 percent higher risk of stroke than those
in the general population -- 7.6 events per 1,000
person years for those with RA and 5.7 events
per 1,000 person years for the general population."
Long-Term Info On Knee
Comes Up Short
John Gever writing in Medpage Today
"Long-term data on total knee replacement
surgery is largely limited to revision, leaving
clinicians and patients in the dark about outcomes
such as residual pain and disability,"
according to an article published in The Lancet.
Researchers "outlined four directions for the
future of knee replacement surgery," those being
"more consistent patient selection for knee
replacement, long-term monitoring with
patient-oriented outcomes, as well as revision,
as endpoints, approval of new designs only after
large randomized trials that demonstrate
cost-effectiveness as well as clinical efficacy,"
and "better management of young people with
early arthritis to avoid need for replacement surgery."
Researchers also proposed that "new treatment
strategies for osteoarthritis that avoid the need
for surgical joint replacement should be a
'major emphasis' for research."
J&J knew about
Hip replacement failures
Barry Meier writing for the New York Times
reported that A year before recalling an
artificial hip, an executive at Johnson &
Johnson reported in an internal e-mail
that the FDA had refused to approve the device,
after reviewing company studies that
showed it had failed prematurely in “significant”
numbers, requiring repeat surgeries for patients.
Meier said, “The statements in that e-mail contrast with
those made by the company in recent years
about the all-metal hip. Before recalling the
device amid rising failure rates in 2010,
Johnson & Johnson insisted it was safe and
maintained that its internal studies refuted
complaints by surgeons and regulators
abroad that the device was flawed.
Vitamin E Can Cause Bone Loss
Mary Elizabesth Dallas reporting
In Healthday wrote that according
to a study published in the journal
Nature Medicine, "vitamin E may
stimulate cells that result in bone
loss." Researchers found that "mice
deficient in vitamin E actually have
higher bone mass because there is
less bone breakdown. Meanwhile,
healthy mice that were fed a diet
with the amount of vitamin E found
in typical human supplements lost
bone mass." Researchers emphasized
that "these results are in mice and
more studies are needed to see
the risks and benefits in humans."
Comment: Thank you mice!
Christina Fiore writing for MedPage Today reported
On a study presented at the American Academy of
Pain Medicine's annual meeting suggesting
that "patients with low back pain who don't
respond robustly to intra-articular steroid injections
may still be candidates for treatment with
radiofrequency ablation (RFA)."
Investigators "conducted a retrospective
study of 80 patients who underwent pre-operative
intra-articular steroid injections RFA" and found
that 75% of the "patients had at least 50% pain
relief from the injections, while the rest had a response
of 25% to 49%." Patients who reach this point usually
have a poor prognosis no matter what is done.
New safety warnings
Gardiner Harris writing for the New
York Times reported
the Food and Drug Administration "added
new safety alerts to statins," adding that
it "is the first time that the" agency "has
officially linked statin use with cognitive
problems like forgetfulness and confusion,
although some patients have
reported such problems for years."
The medications include "Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor
Knee Replacement Surgery
…Less Heart Failure, Mortality
Tara Parker-Pope writing in the New York Times
reported, "New research suggests that for some patients,
knee replacement surgery can actually save their lives."
Researchers "examined the effects of joint replacement
among nearly 135,000" Medicare patients and found
that "three years after diagnosis, the knee replacement
patients had an 11 percent lower risk of heart failure.
And after seven years, their risk of dying for any
reason was 50 percent lower." Researchers
cautioned, however, that the "data...are not
randomized and controlled" and point out that
"not every patient with knee arthritis is a candidate
for joint replacement surgery."
It’s the purest form of Omega-3 fish oil available. Omega-3 fish oils have been shown to be a remarkably effective and safe treatment for the inflammation of arthritis. And Sea Gold is the purest, most effective dietary fish oil manufactured. Omega-3 fish oils have been recommended by more rheumatologists than any other dietary supplement for the control of inflammation that accompanies rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and other forms of inflammatory arthritis. 90 tablets per bottle.
Studies show that supplementation with fish oils can markedly reduce morning stiffness and the number of painful joints for people who have rheumatoid arthritis.