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Insider Arthritis Tips May 2012
May 10, 2012

"Character is like a tree, and reputation is like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."

-- Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

Metal-On-Metal Hip Replacements May Not Be Linked To Increased Cancer Risk

Alison Connoly writing in Bloomberg News reported "Patients who received metal-on-metal hip replacements are at no greater risk of developing cancer after a seven-year period than those with alternatives or the general population, according to a study" published online in the British Medical Journal.

Comment: Good news for once with these replacements.

Meniscus Can Be Easily Damaged

Melinda Beck writing in the Wall Street Journal and prompted by the injury that sidelined Knick point guard Jeremy Lin reported that the knee's meniscus is one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body and that many people may have damage to the meniscus without knowing it. The Journal notes that in a 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that of the selected participants, 42% of the men and 30% of the women had some kind of meniscus damage.

Comment: Meniscus tears are actually quite common and many of Them don’t cause a lot of symptoms. But when they do…

Using narcotics instead of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs means more falls

Here’s the dilemma… Guidelines formed by the American Heart Association and supported by various geriatric groups have stated that doctors should use narcotic analgesics instead of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to treat arthritis. This is because of the data indicating the increased risk from cardiovascular events due to NSAIDS. What has happened since then is a marked increase in numbers of falls, fractures, and premature deaths in elderly arthritis patients. This according to a study from the Geisinger Clinic.

Comment: Practically speaking, the mortality rate for people past the age of 65 is much higher from hip fracture than it is from heart attack.

Biologics lower sperm counts

Heidi Splete writing in Rheumatology News reported that a 35 year old man who had been taking Humira for ankylosing spondylitis developed a marked drop in sperm count due to the drug. Other TNF inhibitors have also been implicated. The effect is reversible.

Comment: That’s a kick in the stones.

Screen Kids With Juvenile Arthritis For Celiac Disease If They Have Low BMI

Lynda Williams writing in MedWire reported, "Children with rheumatic disease and a low body mass index (BMI) should be screened for asymptomatic celiac disease (CD)," according to a study published in the Journal, International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Comment: Rare occurrence but still useful to be suspicious.

RA Patients: Increased Risk Of Death If Quit Statins

Steven Reinberg writing in HealthDay reported "People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis who stop taking their cholesterol-lowering drugs may raise their risk of dying," according to a study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research. "Those who stopped taking statins raised their chances of dying from cardiovascular disease by 60 percent and dying from any cause by 79 percent during the course of the study."

Comment: Interesting finding. But what can you do if you have RA and have to stop the statins?

“Breakthrough” Cheap Drug Slows Osteoarthritis

Pat Anson writing for American News Report reported that A cheap drug that costs less than $1.50 a day slows the progression of osteoarthritis, reduces knee pain and could save thousands of people from having costly hip and knee replacement surgery, according to British researchers. “This is a major breakthrough,” said Professor Cyrus Cooper, the lead researcher at Oxford and Southampton universities.

“Osteoarthritis is a painful and debilitating condition, and for over 20 years we have been searching for a treatment that would allow us to alter the course of the disease, rather than just manage the symptoms.” The study, presented at the European Congress on Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis , showed that strontium ranelate slowed the deterioration of knee-joint cartilage in osteoarthritis patients by about a third. It also significantly reduced pain and improved day-to-day mobility. Until now, pain management and surgery have been the only available treatments for osteoarthritis.

“The results today could totally change the way we treat osteoarthritis. For the first time we have a treatment that can slow the development of this debilitating disease and could reduce or even eliminate the need for expensive and painful joint replacement surgery,” said Cooper.

Comment: If this is true, it could be so important for So many people.

Life Expectancy Increased With Balloon Kyphoplasty

vs Vertebroplasty

Joanna Lyford reported in Medwire that "Life expectancy following a vertebral compression fracture is better when treated with balloon kyphoplasty than with vertebroplasty, an analysis of US Medicare data suggests." The analysis appeared in Osteoporosis International. The article explains that "life expectancy was measured for each patient from the time of diagnosis to either death or the end of the study period and stratified by age and gender."

Comment: Neither of these procedures is a stroll in the park But if one turns out to be superior to the other then that’s important.

Aspirin Studies Confusing to Docs

Roni Caryn Rabin writing in the New York Times reported "More than 40 million American adults already take an aspirin a day to prevent heart disease. Now many more are weighing the pros and cons of daily aspirin use in light of new studies finding that it also may reduce the risk of many cancers and stop the spread of tumors." But "doctors still don't know how much aspirin" patients "should take." The story notes that "low doses may work if they're taken every day; American clinical trials of every-other-day aspirin had no effect on cancer rates at all." Meanwhile, "public health experts worry about widespread use of aspirin, because the drug increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers and hemorrhagic strokes that can be fatal."

Comment: Aspirin is a great drug but… yes… we still don’t know all there is to know about it.

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May is Arthritis Month and there's still time to sign up for our May symposium.

I've been told by many arthritis key opinion leaders that our event is something that they have not seen anywhere else in the U.S.  I understand because it's taken many years and a lot of hard work to develop. Our last three symposiums have featured some of the most foremost authorities in the country.  If you absolutely can't make it, the good news is that it will be professionally video recorded in high definition and will be available for purchase after the event.

Click Here to Register.  For more details, go to


The “Insiders’ Secrets” To Beating Low Back Pain!

What You Need To Know
And What You Can Do To Get Blessed Relief!

According to the American Physical Therapy Association nearly two-thirds of Americans experience low back pain, but 37 percent don't seek professional help for pain relief.

Many people don't realize they can prevent or treat low back pain.

  • 39 percent of adults say low back pain has affected their ability to engage in tasks of daily living, while 38 percent said it has affected exercise, and 37 percent said it has bothered sleep.
  • Low back pain isn't just common for those who spend a lot of time on their feet. More than 54 percent who have the pain spend the majority of their workdays sitting.
  • Men are more likely than women to report low back pain affects their ability to work.
  • Nearly three in four Americans use pain medication as a way to relieve symptoms. More than half said they use heat and cold packs at home.

Don’t be one of these statistics!

Dr. Nathan Wei has written a comprehensive yet easy-to-understand book on what you need to know… if you suffer from low back pain.

You will discover with this introductory offer of only $19.99…

  • Banish back pain once and for all!
  • Nine Little Known Facts and Insider Secrets to Beat Low-Back Pain.
  • Quick fixes for bad backs.
  • Three new ways to take the ouch out of back pain.

Contact us at 301-698-5800 to get your copy today!

Wei’s World May 2012

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Today I’m going to talk about what’s on our refrigerator at home.  Not what’s in it… what’s on it!


One thing I always notice when I visit another home is what people display on their refrigerator.  It really tells an interesting story.


So let me tell you what’s on our refrigerator:  On one side, we have magnetic words.  These were put up when our youngest child, Emily, was learning how to make sentences.  So my wife, Judy, found these magnetic words that allowed her to help Emily make sentences using the side of the refrigerator as the work space.  There’s also a dry erase board that says, “Emily Wei… I love Mei-Mei so much.”  (Mei-Mei is our dog.)  And the words are surrounded by hearts.


On the other side of the refrigerator are a number of “to do” lists and different magnets.  These magnets were obviously created to be put on refrigerators.  They advertise different businesses and pizza shops.  There’s one for Guinness which was given to me by a friend who went to England.  And there are many others.  My favorite is a fairly large magnet with a picture of a mother putting a cake into the oven and speaking to her little girl who’s standing beside her…, “Remember sweetheart… mommy loves you but she doesn’t have to like you…”


Only a parent would understand that I suppose.


On the front of the refrigerator are tons of pictures.  My wife started a tradition many years ago when the children were little.  Every year there was the “Christmas picture” which became the family greeting card that we mailed out at holiday time.  This required the kids to be at home, dressed in whatever outfit my wife selected for that year, and posing in different environments.  There are pictures taken in the yard, in front of the house, in back of the house, in front of a funky looking car, in the backyard of a friend with their dogs.  This was before we got our dog. Yes, we borrowed her dogs for our Christmas picture that year!


When the kids were still at home, it was fairly easy to do the picture.  I say “fairly”, because the kids were not always in the most cooperative of moods.  You could sometimes see the reluctance in their expressions.  But over the years, it seems that they too looked forward to our tradition.


As they have grown older and left home, it has become harder to get them all home at the same time for the photo shoot.  One year, our oldest daughter, Becky, couldn’t make it home for the picture so the other kids held a large framed piece of artwork in the photograph.  We then superimposed a picture of Becky inside the frame.  Oh the miracles of Photoshop!  These pictures are a real treasure.  I look at them and follow the chronology of their growing up.


In a sense it’s a bit sad because time doesn’t stand still.  Yet at the same time it’s interesting to see the change.  Our children are each making their own way in the world, but I still see the little child in each one that I wish we could still have.

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