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Insider Arthritis Tips October 2013
October 15, 2013

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

Winston Churchill

September Arthritis News

Do copper and magnetic bracelets work for rheumatoid arthritis? The answer next…

Copper bracelets and magnetic wrist straps have no efficacy against rheumatoid arthritis pain

People have used copper bracelets for generations in the belief that they help arthritis symptoms by rebalancing the body’s magnetic field. But the first randomised controlled trial of its kind has laid this popular folklore to rest after finding they have no effect on pain, inflammation, or disease progression in RA. “Wearing magnetic wrist straps, or copper bracelets, in order to minimise disease progression and alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is a practice that lacks clinical efficacy,” concluded the researchers from York University in PLOS One. Although the devices were generally safe, the results confirmed that patients who purchased these products were wasting their money. “People with rheumatoid arthritis are far better spending their money on fish oil supplements, the evidence on that is far more compelling,” lead author and researcher Stewart Richmond told Rheumatology Update. But the greatest danger may arise for RA patients who relied exclusively on the devices rather than seeking effective treatment to control their inflammation.

Comment: The placebo effect is strong with these devices. Nothing wrong with using them so log as they don’t replace proven therapies.

What popular over the counter pain killer is deadly… Coming up next

Acetaminophen associated with deadly illness

Elizabeth Mechcatie writing in Rheumatology News reported on an FDA announcement that Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a serious and potentially fatal skin reaction can occur in patients taking acetaminophen. The drug has also been associated with toxic epidermal necrolysis, another potentially fatal skin condition. Caution should be used when advising patients to take this medication.

Comment: Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, can be dangerous.

Do rooster comb injections really work for knee osteoarthritis? The answer coming up next…

Study upholds hyaluronic acid injection safety, efficacy profile in reducing knee OA pain

A new meta-analysis of 29 randomized studies involving more than 4,500 patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) found that intra-articular hyaluronic acid (HA) injections provided significant improvement in pain and function compared to saline injections. The study, "US-Approved Intra-Articular Hyaluronic Acid Injections are Safe and Effective in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Saline-Controlled Trials," was published in Clinical Medicine Insights: Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders and included results from randomized peer-reviewed studies of six HA injection brands, with identical treatment follow up between the treatment and control groups.

Comment: The stuff works. Ultrasound guidance for injection is highly recommended.

Fibromyalgia… think it’s all in your head… it may be in your skin too...

Fibromyalgia patients’ pain might stem from small-fiber polyneuropathy

A report in Helio showed that almost half of patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia tested positive for small-fiber polyneuropathy, a peripheral nerve disease that might cause their chronic widespread pain, according to recent study results. “Until now, there has been no good idea about what causes fibromyalgia, but now we have evidence for some but not all patients,” researcher Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PhD, director of the Nerve Injury Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital’s neurology department, said in a press release. “This provides some of the first objective evidence of a mechanism behind some cases of fibromyalgia, and identifying an underlying cause is the first step toward finding better treatments.”

Comment: A disease that is poorly understood is finally getting some attention.

A brand new hip or knee may be just what you need – but if you’re considering joint replacement and you have atrial fibrillation (A-fib), you could be looking at a rough go...

Warning for Joint Replacement Patients With Atrial Fibrillation Marianne Wait writing for the Arthritis Foundation reported on a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Investigators found that that A-fib patients had a longer length of stay [in the hospital], an increased cost of medical care and higher complication rates,” says senior study author Alvin C. Ong, MD, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. In fact, the complication rates were around 27 percent higher in patients who had A-fib compared with those who didn’t. The complications included infections around the new joint, the need for blood transfusions and later readmission to the hospital. People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are up to 60 percent more likely than people without RA to develop A-fib, either due to the disease itself or the medications (such as corticosteroids) used to treat it. Additionally, the chances of anyone developing A-fib increase greatly with age.

Comment: Another potential complication associated with rheumatoid arthritis and joint replacement.

Is there a difference between psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis? Find out next…

Brodalumab… promising treatment for psoriatic disease…

A new biologic drug, brodalumab works rapidly at the skin compared to TNF inhibitors which have classically been employed to treat psoiriatic arthritis. These TNF inhibitors tend to show an effect on joints earlier than the skin, according to Dr. Philip Mease at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. That means this drug could be used for patients with psoriatic arthritis who have had a poor response to TNF inhibitors or who are intolerant to them.

Comment: Psoriatic arthritis preferentially attacks the skin and the entheses, the connecting point where the tendons insert into bones, making it a very different disease than rheumatoid arthritis.

What’s the effect of depression on rheumatoid arthritis patients? The answer might surprise you.

Depression predicts early retirement in RA

Phoebe Starr writing for Value-based care in Rheumatology commented on a study that showed rheumatoid arthritis patients have a higher incidence of depression than the general population. According to a study presented at the European League Against Rheumatism meeting, this depression is a strong predictor of early retirement. This could potentially lead to a greater economic burden on society, let alone the devastating effects depression can produce on the individual.

Comment: Depression exacts a high price on rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Can saliva help with Sjogren’s disease diagnosis? The answer next…

Biomarker may help with Sjogren diagnosis

Elevated levels of beta 2 microglobulin in saliva combined with sodium may offer a new method for diagnosing Sjogren’s disease. While elevated levels of B 2 microglobulin in serum has been a marker for Sjogren’s, Japanese researchers have found that elevated levels in saliva may be an even better test.

Comment: Spit happens.

How to Throw a Good House Party

By Chris Miksen, eHow Contributor, May 22, 2013

Throwing a good house party involves creating a party environment. Throwing a successful house party involves more than tidying up and inviting a bunch of friends over. To make it enjoyable for everyone involved, put some time into planning and preparations. Consider the guest list, the food and drinks, the decorations and the entertainment. As the host, it is your job to create a festive, fun-filled and safe environment for your guests.

  • Determine the size of the party.
  • Choose a time that will fit with most people’s schedules.
  • Serving alcoholic drinks. Should or shouldn’t guests bring alcohol.
  • Create a party environment with decorations. This helps set the mood.
  • Create a menu and buy more food and drinks than you think you'll need. Include a wide variety of foods, snacks or appetizers.
  • Provide entertainment: music, games, TV, pool, etc…
  • Mingle with all your guests. Make a point to spend time with every guest.

Meanings of Gestures in Other Cultures

By Julie Vickers, eHow Contributor

It is important to understand the meanings of hand signals and head movements, which differ in cultures around the world. Nonverbal communication, such as the use of gestures, helps to complement and reinforce meanings of verbal messages. However, when communicating with people from cultures that are different from your own, it is important to understand possible contradictions in the meanings of gestures such as hand signals and head movements.

Hand Signals – It is said that handshakes are common gestures in the US and Western Europe, and touching someone on the arm, is often used to offer support or to gain attention by people from regions such as North America, France and Italy. However, people from Islamic cultures may disapprove of any public touching across the genders, while they accept same-sex touching. People from Islamic and Hindu cultures use their right hand only for tasks such as greeting and eating, while the left hand is reserved for toilet functions. Using the left hand for other tasks is regarded as a "social insult."

Finger Signals - Raising one hand with fingers extended upward, and palm facing outward commonly means "Stop!" among most cultures. However, people of Greek or Turkish origin may also read it as a rude and angry gesture of dismissal.

In the US and the UK, raising the thumb from a clenched fist, or the "thumbs up" signal, and making a circle with the index finger and thumb, suggest positive or affirmative meanings. However, people from regions such as Iran, the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and Latin America, may regard these gestures as obscene. Upward extensions of the index finger and middle finger, with the palm facing inward, signifies "two" in the United States, and "peace" in France, while in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Malta it is a gesture that carries insulting connotations. Pointing with the index finger may offend people of Asian origin.

Head Signals - For most cultures, shaking the head from side to side indicates a negative reply, while nodding the head is an affirmative gesture. However, in Albania and Bulgaria there is reversal of meaning of "no" and "yes" head gestures.

People of Asian culture may avoid touching the head because they believe that it "houses the soul” and touch puts it in jeopardy."

Japanese people may nod their head as a casual way of greeting someone, or use a deeper bow as a sign of respect, according to the Japan-Guide website.

Body Signals – Islamic culture find it disrespectful to point your whole foot, or the sole of your foot, toward people, for example, when sitting with your legs crossed. Showing the soles of the feet may also cause offense to someone who originates from Thailand, while sitting with legs crossed is offensive to people from Ghana and Turkey.

Keeping your hands in your pockets when talking to someone may seem a relaxed and casual gesture to people from the US or the UK, but to Turkish people, it may signify disrespect.

Fully Loaded Tater Tots Casserole

Author: Cat Davis |

You can whip this casserole up in about 30 minutes or so with whatever toppings you have on hand or even use it as a side dish loaded with veggies. This is also a great dish to take on the go in a portable Pyrex baking dish for holiday gatherings.

Prep: 5 mins ~ Cook Time: 30 mins ~ Serves: 6


  • 1 bag Tater Tots
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 cup chopped deli ham
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  • Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and spread the frozen tater tots evenly in the dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • While the tots are baking, chop the bacon into bite size pieces and fry until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel to cool and drain.
  • In a large bowl, lightly mix together the cheese, ham and bacon.
  • Pull the tater tots out of the oven and cover evenly with the cheese mixture. Continue baking for another 15 minutes.
  • Cool five minutes before serving. Top with sour cream and green onions.

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Agave Nectar: What's in a Sweetener?

By Jessie Geoffray, Contributor

September 2013

Agave Nectar. You might have seen it at your local coffee shop or listed as an ingredient of your favorite snack. Usually packaged in some way that advertises it as "natural" and "raw," agave nectar gained popularity several years ago for appearing to be a healthy alternative to refined sugar, maple syrup, or honey. Not long after, nutritionists and health experts determined that the sweetener is not necessarily healthier than even high fructose corn syrup. While agave nectar is made from the juice of a Mexican cactus, it is processed in a way that gives it no nutritional (or caloric) advantage over table sugar.

Joint Food

Joint Food is the purest preparation of glucosamine and chondroitin available. Studies show that people who take pure forms of glucosamine and chondroitin experience pain relief and improvement in joint function.

Joint Food is based on the German formula and is available in Europe today—only by prescription.

The effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin products, used as a treatment for osteoarthritis, is proven. You may need to take the supplements for at least two months before noticing marked improvement.

There are no side effects… no drug interactions… and you may even be able to reduce your dose of NSAIDs.

Glucosamine supplements do not interfere with any NSAIDs, aspirin, Tylenol, or other anti-inflammatory or analgesic medicines and continued use of the supplements will not lead to progressive joint destruction, GI upset or bleeding, or strain on the liver and kidneys.>

Experience improved joint function and pain relief by taking Joint Food.

PPurchase a two month supply for $71.

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You can join the auto-ship club and save even more money! Plus, it’s delivered right to your door with no additional shipping fees./p>

Call our product specialist at 301-694-5800 for more information.

Wei’s World October 2013

I almost died.

Over Labor Day, my wife and I went to the Outer Banks. As many of you know I enjoy surf fishing. I know the beach pretty well and when it’s low tide and the water is just beginning to come in for high tide, I’ve found that walking out to the sand bar and casting far is a good method for catching fish.

The waves had been rough for a couple of days but they seemed to be a bit calmer on Friday. So I walked out, bobbed through the deeper trough until I got to the sand bar where the water was up to mid-thigh.

After a few casts my bait was gone so I decided to try and get back in. That’s when I realized the waves were rougher than I thought. I got pushed into the trough which was, by now, over my head. I felt the pull of a riptide on my legs. I did what I had been taught to do which was to swim parallel to the beach.

The problem was that with every stroke, another wave crashed onto my head and when I got to the surface, I was disoriented and didn’t know which way to go. Should I go this way or that?

And every time I finally figured out which way to continue swimming, another wave crashed onto my head and I became disoriented again.

I still held onto my fishing rod but after about ten minutes, I figured it was time to let go. I was getting pretty tired. I tried floating on my back but the waves kept pounding me in the face. I couldn’t breathe. It was about this time, I started to think, is this it? I mean is this the end of the road?

I continued to stay afloat but was beginning to feel weak. Just when I thought I might not make it, someone on a boogie board saw me and yelled, “Are you okay?” He could tell by my gestures, the answer was, “no.” So he paddled over and I was finally able to get some rest. A surfer had also seen me struggling and he paddled over as well. The two of them were able to bring me back to shore.

I was on my hands and knees on the beach… I was totally exhausted but glad to be alive.

The Outer Banks are beautiful but they hide a treacherous secret and that is the enormous strength and deceptiveness of the water. Even for me, someone who has been surf fishing there for more than 25 years, there’s always a lesson to be learned. I didn’t catch any fish that day… but that’s okay.

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