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Insider Arthritis Tips October 2012
November 15, 2012

"In calm water every ship has a good captain." -- Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th U.S. President

November Arthritis News

Flu Shot Protects Against Heart Attacks

Jennifer Nelson reporting for NBC News said , "Getting a flu shot this season may not only greatly lower your risk of influenza this year, it may also lower your risk of heart disease, a new review from Canada suggests."

Comment: A pretty good reason not to skip a flu shot.

Study shows methotrexate improves lifespan in rheumatoid arthritis.

In a prospective study lasting a quarter century, the use of methotrexate was associated with increased lifespan for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This has been suggested often before, but the new report resolves numerous questions arising from the "vast changes" in use of the medication for this condition over that period. The results resoundingly confirm prior studies, finding methotrexate use for RA associated with a 70% reduction in mortality. The study was published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Comment: This workhorse drug revolutionized our approach to treatment in the 1980’s

Diabetes May Predict Development Of Severe OA.

Medwire reported, "Diabetes is a strong predictor for the development of severe osteoarthritis (OA) requiring joint arthroplasty," according to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care. After following 927 men and women, 69 of which with diabetes, from 1990 until 2010, researchers found that "13 arthroplasties were performed due to severe symptomatic hip/knee OA in" people with diabetes, "corresponding to an intervention rate of 17.7 per 1000 person-years. This compared with 73 interventions carried out in those who did not have baseline diabetes, corresponding to a rate of 5.3 per 1000 person-years."

Comment: Often diseases like diabetes and osteoarthritis go hand in hand.

Periodontal Disease May Reduce Efficacy Of TNF In Patients With RA.

Lynda Williams writing in Medwire reported, "Periodontal disease may reduce the efficacy of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor treatment in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)," according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. The research "shows a significant difference in response to 6 months of infliximab, adalimumab or etanercept in eight patients with and 10 patients without gum disease for three measures of RA activity."

Comment: Again, this supports the notion that gum disease plays a major role in autoimmune-driven disease.

Vitamin D Won’t Prevent Colds.

Jon Bardin writing in the Los Angeles Times reported, "If you're trying to ward off the sniffles, you can take vitamin D supplements out of your shopping cart: A new study" published in the Journal of the American Medical Association "reports that dosing with the vitamin does nothing to prevent colds or other forms of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI)."

Comment: I didn’t even know vitamin D was being used to ward off colds.

RA Patients Have Higher Blood Clot Risk In Decade After Diagnosis.

Randy Dotinga writing in Healthday reported, "New research confirms suspicions that people with rheumatoid arthritis are at somewhat higher risk of" venous thromboembolism (VTE) "in the decade after diagnosis."

Comment: As if RA patients needed another problem. Be vigilant.

Hip Resurfacing Not Good For Some

Barry Meier writing in the New York Times reported on a study that urged women to avoid an alternative hip replacement procedure known as 'resurfacing' and also recommended against its use in smaller men." The research "reflected the experiences of some 32,000 patients followed by the National Joint Registry of England and Wales," and was published in The Lancet. The Times adds, "In a commentary accompanying the new report, an expert in this country, Dr. Art Sedrakyan, noted that the apparent failure of resurfacing devices raised questions about how such products were reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration."

Comment: Think twice about hip resurfacing.

New Organs Out Of Living Cells.

Henry Fountain writing in the New York Times reported on "tissue engineers" who are creating new organs out of living cells. A "first-of-its-kind procedure" at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden in 2011 famously replaced a man's diseased windpipe with a new, "bioartificial" one grown from his own cells on a scaffold. Now, scientists "are using similar techniques with the goal of building more complex organs." Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, developed bladders and "are working on kidneys, livers and more. Labs in China and the Netherlands are among many working on blood vessels." The Times says "some...want to go even further - to harness the body's repair mechanisms so that it can remake a damaged organ on its own."

Comment: Wow! Just think of the possibilities.

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Wei’s World November 2012

Well, it happened again. Hurricane Sandy pillaged the East Coast. And just like this summer, we suffered through another power outage. Though, this time we were lucky compared with people in New Jersey and New York.

The ability to predict weather today is amazing. When I was a kid growing up in New York state, the weather reports were just as often wrong as they were right. I’ve been told by some patients, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a terrible winter. But it sounds like the same prediction that was given for last winter when we had one of the mildest winters on record. But I’m not going to bet either way.

The one upside of the hurricane (although this is a stretch) is that it slowed the non-stop political campaigning. By the time this newsletter goes out, we’ll know who won the election. Both candidates spent an obscene amount of money on their ads. I was getting an Excedrin-strength headache by the beginning of November from all the advertisement. Just think if that money had been spent on something of value.

Frankly, I’m looking forward to the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving: food, family, and no presents. We also take our family picture then. It’s the one we put in the holiday cards.

I’m just amazed at how quickly this year has gone by. The older you get, the faster time goes. I remember being told that once and now I believe it.

Hope you all enjoy the holiday season.

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