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Insider Arthritis Tips July 2012
July 15, 2012

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are." -- John Wooden, basketball coach

Vitamin B6 May Be Associated With Chronic Inflammation

Jennifer Warner writing in WebMD reported that a study appearing in the Journal of Nutrition "shows a strong association between chronic inflammation and the essential vitamin found in foods such as lean meats, legumes, and vegetables." The article mentions that "although previous studies have linked low blood levels of vitamin B6 with various signs of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), researchers say this is the first large-scale study to look at the relationship between the vitamin and a variety of inflammation indicators."

Comment: Can vitamins be the answer?

Exercise May Reduce Pain From Nerve Damage

Robert Preidt writing in Healthday reported, "Exercise helps reduce pain from nerve damage caused by injury, diabetes and other conditions, according to a study involving rats." Writing in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, the investigators "found that exercise appears to ease this type of pain – called neuropathic pain -- by reducing levels of inflammation-causing substances called cytokines."

Comment: I keep harping on the value of exercise. It's more important than medicines.

Ultrasound Detects Heart Disease Earlier In RA Patients

Robert Preidt writing in Healthday Reported that a new study presented at the annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism in Berlin has found that "a special type of ultrasound can detect heart disease early in people with rheumatoid arthritis." The researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, explained that "patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk for heart disease, and it is important to be able to spot the disease at an early stage and begin treatment before it progresses to the point where a patient is at danger for a heart attack or heart failure."

Comment: Ultrasound is assuming a greater role in rheumatology care.

Lubricants May Not Help Knee Osteoarthritis

Linda Searing writing in the Washington Post reported that a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that injections known as viscosupplementation may not be helpful in treating knee osteoarthritis. The study found that "during a follow-up period of about four months, people who had viscosupplementation reported slightly less pain than the others, though the decrease was described as 'clinically irrelevant.' No improvement was found in use of the knee."

Comment: Don't believe it. The method of administering the lubricants is key. Unless ultrasound guidance is used, it's like throwing darts in the dark.

NSAIDS May Not Good to Treat Sore Muscles

John Gever writing in MedPage Today reported that new research presented at the annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism finds that "muscle pain after heavy exercise is natural and even healthy, and taking anti-inflammatory drugs for normal soreness may be a bad idea." The researchers note that "studies in healthy volunteers who exercised hard enough to cause muscle soreness indicated that the potent nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ketoprofen inhibited the recovery process."

Comment: This goes against everything I've ever done but I guess it's time to change.

Anti-TNFs Help RA Patients Live Longer

Kathleen Doheny writing in WebMD reported, "Rheumatoid arthritis patients who take medications known as anti-TNFs may be treating more than their disease." New research presented at a European meeting on arthritis suggests that RA patients who take anti-TNFs may be less likely to have a heart attack and may be more likely to live longer than RA patients who do not take anti-TNFs.

Comment: I'm not surprised.

Weight Loss reverses OA inflammation

Becky McCall writing in Rheumatology News reported on a study from the Osteoarthritis Research Society International which showed that a large weight reduction- 10% or more led to dramatic reductions in inflammatory markers, Il-6 and leptin as well as compressive forces on the knee of 39.1 pounds/ step over 18 months.

Comment: Adipose tissue (fat) actually produces inflammatory proteins. Lose weight!

16,800 Concerns In A Decade About Hip Implants

Anna Edney writing in Bloomberg News reported that according to a report from the Food and Drug Administration, "almost 16,800 adverse events associated with metal-on-metal hip implants were reported in the US from 2000-2011." Bloomberg notes that the FDA document found that reports of adverse events regarding the implants "almost quadrupled to 682 in 2008 from the year earlier, and rose again after a unit of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) began recalling hip devices in 2010."

Comment: Way too many problems!

Cannabinoids Popular Pain Treatment For Fibro Patients

Nancy Walsh writing in MedPage Today Reported that a study in Arthritis Care & Research found that "use of cannabinoids for medicinal purposes -- particularly for pain relief – is popular among patients with fibromyalgia, who either smoke marijuana or take synthetic prescription formulations." The researchers note that "the cannabinoid system has known modulatory effects on pain, inflammation, immune function, and even joint damage."

Comment: Reminds me of the '60's...

Steroids Increase Infection Risk in Older RA Patients

Nancy Walsh writing in MedPage Today reported that a recent case-control analysis published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases has found that "use of glucocorticoids -- both current and past – increases the risk for serious infections in older patients with rheumatoid arthritis, especially if taken for long periods."

Comments: Steroids... the prototypical double-edged sword!

Body Brace For Scoliosis Causes Stress For Patients, Parents

Robert Preidt writing in Healthday reported that new research published in the journal Spine concludes that "having to wear a body brace for the treatment of scoliosis (curved spine) causes stress for teen patients and their parents." According to HealthDay, "Both the patients and their parents found the brace treatment moderately stressful. But while the girls reported low levels of stress related to the scoliosis itself, their parents rated this form of stress as moderate."

Comment: All too often we overlook the psychological impact of our therapies.

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Wei’s World July 2012

Okay… the gloves come off. I’m going to vent about some of my pet peeves.

The first four have to do with supermarkets. I hate it when you try to get a cart and it’s stuck to the next cart so you can’t pull them apart.

The second is when you finally get the cart but one of its wheels is wobbly or cock-eyed and it keeps going off in a direction you don’t want it to.

The third is when the Purell dispenser is empty so you can’t clean the cart handle. I’m concerned about infection, particularly in the winter… Okay, so I’m a bit paranoid but, heck, who wants to get sick?

The fourth is if you go into the 15 items or less line and someone is there with 50 items. For heaven’s sake, why did they do away with capital punishment?!!!

OK then, let’s leave the supermarket.

Another peeve is when I’m driving on the highway and some moron is in the left lane doing 50 and won’t move over.

Just as bad is the driver who comes up behind you really fast when you’re in the left lane going 75 (you didn’t just read that) and then goes into the right lane and passes you before you even have a chance to move over.

How about the person who you just let in line when the traffic gets backed up who doesn’t wave to thank you? That is irritating.

Or how about the person who walks their dog and doesn’t pick up the poop... especially when it’s on your lawn!

Another is when you do something nice and the person doesn’t send you a thank you note. I find this especially common among young people nowadays. Who raised them?

And finally, going to a doctor’s office and waiting and waiting and waiting. Hope this doesn’t happen at our office!

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