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Insider Arthritis Tips March 2012
March 15, 2012
"Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries." -- James Michener, Author
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.
Comment: If this is true, it’s an abomination. At one time, J&J was the model of corporate integrity. Remember the tainted Tylenol issue? They’ve fallen far. Think twice about joint replacement!
Novel Microchip Implant
Delivers Drug To
Terapeptide- parathyroid hormone-
has been used to treat patients
with severe osteoporosis. Unfortunately,
it requires a
daily injection. Diane Sawyer reporting
for BC News discussed a study where
"researchers at MIT, Mass General
Hospital and Harvard Medical School"
implanted "a microchip in seven women
battling osteoporosis." The devices
"automatically deliver the right
amount of drugs, daily," which
"can be inserted in your doctor's
office." In addition, "the doses are
Holt reported on NBC News
"The number of baby boomers getting
total knee replacements tripled in a ten-year
period. And even though there can be complications,
nearly one in 20 Americans over 50 is walking around
with a new knee." ABC News medical editor
Nancy Snyderman, MD, attributed the increase
to "America's obesity epidemic, aging athletes
not taking care of their aching joints, genetics,
and the fact that we're living longer, more active lives."
Allergy Testing Reduces
From Joint Replacements
Charles Bankhead writing in MedPage Today
reported, "Preoperative skin patch testing
for metal allergy influenced treatment
planning in two-thirds of a small group
of patients scheduled to receive
metal-containing prosthetic devices,"
according to a study
published in the Archives of
Dermatology. "All 21 patients
with positive tests received allergen-free
prostheses and had no complications
associated with hypersensitivity."
Stomach protecting drugs
Increase Hip Fracture Risk
In Postmenopausal Women
Linda Searing writing in The
Washington Post reported
that according to a study published in the BMJ,
postmenopausal women "who took
proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)" such as
esomeprazole [Nexium], omeprazole
[Prilosec], or lansoprazole [Prevacid],
"were 35 percent more likely to have
broken their hip than were women who
did not use the drugs, increasing to a 51
percent greater risk if the women had ever
smoked." In addition, "the longer women
had used PPIs, the greater their risk for a
broken hip, with six to eight years of use
correlating to a 55 percent greater likelihood."
Whipworms For Autoimmune Diseases
Shirley Wang writing in the Wall Street Journal
reported that according to a number of studies,
treatment using whipworm eggs may reduce
the symptoms in some autoimmune diseases such
as ulcerative colitis. In addition, research is
expected to begin on rheumatoid arthriti and allergies.
The Journal raised the possibility of
the hygiene hypothesis
underlying the treatment, which
humans have been reducing
exposure to microorganisms that are
necessary to strengthen the immune
system, resulting in an increase in the
incidence of immune system diseases, such as
asthma. Whipworms may be ideal for this type
of treatment because they can trigger
an immune-modulating effect in, but
do not infect or colonize, humans.
Diane Sawyer reported in ABC News
on a study from Cedars-Sinai hospital
and published in the Lancet"heart attack
patients were treated with their
own stem cells injected directly into
their hearts and they grew new heart muscle."
Comment: Yes Yes Yes!
Chinese Herb Targets
Jennifer Warner writing in WebMD
reported a new discovery about a
2,000-year-old Chinese herbal remedy
derived from the roots of the blue evergreen
hydrangea may pave the way for a new
generation of targeted treatments for
A new study suggests the Chinese herb
known as Chang Shan selectively weakens
the runaway immune response implicated
in many autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers say the active ingredient in the
Chinese herbal remedy, halofuginone (HF),
blocks the development of a harmful type of
immune cell called Th17 cells without
disabling the immune system altogether.
"HF prevents the autoimmune response
without dampening immunity altogether,"
researcher Malcolm Whitman, PhD,
professor of developmental biology at
Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
Comment: Tally up another point for herbal remedies.
PRP Injections Help Young
Athletes With UCL Tears
John Gever writing in MedPage Today
reports, "Young athletes with torn
elbow ligaments, where rest and physical
therapy were ineffective, quickly
returned to play after receiving
platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections,
a researcher said" during "the American
Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's
Specialty Day, part of the American
Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons'
annual meeting." Researcher Scott
Crow, MD found that "16 of 17 teenage
and young adult patients with partial
ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tears
were able to return to regular play
within 15 weeks of receiving PRP injection."
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Wei's World March 2012My dad died on February 5th at 4AM . He entered the hospital for treatment of a urinary tract infection. Then he lost consciousness. A CAT scan showed he had suffered a massive stroke.
For the past three years or so, he had lived in an assisted living facility and his mental capacity had been declining.
Often times when I called, I had to remind him who I was.
Still… it’s very difficult to lose a parent. It’s particularly hard when I think about the strength and courage he and my mom had to have in order to make a life here in the United States.
They left China and sailed on the Grover Cleveland in 1948. They passed through Ellis Island and settled in New York City where my dad worked during the day while studying for his master’s degree at night at Columbia.
He then moved the family to Norwich, NY, a small farming community with a pharmaceutical company, Eaton Laboratories, where he was hired to do medicinal research. While we were there, the family expanded to include my brother and two sisters. During that time, he taught me how to fish, how to rise above the racist comments of people, and how to push on.
Remember, this was the 1950’s when being Asian elicited much prejudice. I distinctly remember a visit to a barber shop where the barber refused to cut my dad’s hair.
I think my dad’s desire to not make waves was due to his upbringing. He was an orphan raised in a Baptist mission in China. He was quite religious and he and my mom made all of us go to church at least three or four times a week. (That might explain why I stopped going to church after I graduated from high school!)
After all the sacrifices he and my mom made, he was extremely proud of all the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren.
Our mom passed away in 1988 and three years after my mother died, my dad married another woman who took very good care of him until his passing.
I think a lot about the good times we had. About 10 years ago, I took my dad and one of my sons to northern Canada for a fishing trip. That was a wonderful time and one of the memories my dad relished in his later years.
It was very hard to see him in the hospital at the end hooked up to all that machinery. It was comforting when my siblings and I agreed that they should remove those horrible things. The old person lying in bed all shriveled up was not my father. It will take time to get over this. And you actually never do “get over” the death of a parent. I think you just compartmentalize it better. This Wei’s World is, of course, dedicated to the memory of my dad.
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