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Insider Arthritis Tips September 2013
September 15, 2013

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

September Arthritis News

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As you read this month's newsletter, you will notice it has a little extra. I introduce a favorite recipe and some interesting yet informative articles on something not related to arthritis. Enjoy! Let me know how you like it?

Pulsed electromagnetic fields effective for knee OA

Efforts to manage the pain of knee osteoarthritis have included medications, physical therapy, and injections. Now a new type of treatment might offer some hope as well. In the journal, Rheumatology, a review of fourteen trials were analysed, comprising 482 patients in the treatment group and 448 patients in the placebo group. When the efficacy of PEMF in treating pain was investigated, no significant effects were observed at any of the time points considered. However, when trials employing high-quality methodology were analysed, PEMF was significantly more effective at 4 and 8 weeks than the placebo.

Comment: The effects are modest and the equipment is expensive… and it still is only symptomatic relief.

Psoriatic arthritis undertreated

Jennifer Davis writing in Arthritis Today reported on a study published in JAMA Dermatology. About half of all patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are dissatisfied with the treatment they are getting, according to the new study. Moreover, the study found a large percentage of study participants are either undertreated or not getting any treatment at all. “I think the numbers are significant especially for the psoriatic arthritis population,” says lead author April W. Armstrong, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology and director of the Clinical Research Unit at the University of California – Davis in Sacramento. “For people suffering from psoriatic arthritis, if they are unsatisfied with their treatments it’s often because they have noticeable symptoms. And that is something that is concerning because the symptoms they have often correlate with X-ray findings for joint destruction. And once joint destruction occurs that is irreversible.” Overall, 45.5 percent of PsA patients and 52.3 percent of psoriasis patients reported they weren’t satisfied with their treatment.

Comment: Very disturbing and something that needs attention.

Quitting cigs helps back pain

Research presented at the 2013 meeting of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons supported the notion that smoking cessation is related to improvement in back pain. What was remarkable was that smoking cessation at any age led to improvement in pain scores.

Comment: It’s been previously reported that quitting smoking helped with spinal fusion healing.

Anti-TNF treatment lowers risk of heart attack

Sara Freeman writing in Rheumatology News reported on a study from Birmingham England which showed that patients treated with anti-TNF therapy had a 30% lower risk for heart attack than those treated with conventional disease modifying drugs. The hypothesis put forth by the researchers is that by lowering inflammation, these biologic drugs reduce the well- known increased risk for heart attack in rheumatoid arthritis.

Comment: Like I said, take heart…

Exercise program improves ankylosing spondylitis

Elizabeth Mechatie writing in Rheumatology News reported on a study presented at the 2013 European Congress of Rheumatology meeting. The study showed that patients with ankylosing spondylitis who participated in s progressive muscle strengthening program gained significant improvements in muscle strength and walking performance after 4 months compared to those patients who didn’t participate. Comment: Exercise is a key ingredient in the treatment strategy for this condition.

Hand osteoarthritis linked to increased risk of heart disease

Bianca Nogrady writing in Rheumatology News reported on a study presented at the European Congress of Rheumatology. Researchers from the Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Oslo showed that patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the hands had a significant increase in the number of coronary artery heart disease. The increased risk was double that for patients with no hand osteoarthritis. A possible link between inflammation of the joints and coronary plaque was raised.

Comment: It appears that most forms of arthritis now are associated with heart disease.

Remission difficult for obese RA patients

Michelle Sullivan writing in Rheumatology News reported on a study presented at the European Congress of Rheumatology. Researchers showed that overweight and obese individuals with rheumatoid arthritis had a much more difficult time achieving remission. They also required earlier treatment with biologic therapy. The scientists hypothesized that since obesity is considered a chronic inflammatory condition because fat cells produce proinflammatory proteins, that the situation presented by an obese individual makes it that more difficult to treat.

Comment: RA patients should view weight loss as an integral part of treatment for their disease.

Bee sting therapy treats illnesses from arthritis to cancer in China

Ed Jones writing in the New York Daily News reported, bee acupuncture has been used for centuries by traditional medicine practitioners in China and elsewhere, but Western experts are highly skeptical of the use of bee venom in treating disease. Patients in China are swarming to acupuncture clinics to be given bee stings to treat or ward off life-threatening illness, practitioners say. More than 27,000 people have undergone the painful technique -- each session can involve dozens of punctures -- at Wang Menglin's clinic in Beijing, says the bee acupuncturist who makes his living from believers in the concept. But except for trying to prevent allergic reactions to the stings themselves, there is no medical evidence that bee venom is effective against illness, and Western physicians call this "apitherapy" "quackery." "We hold the bee, put it on a point on the body, hold its head, and pinch it until the sting needle emerges," Wang said at his facility on the outskirts of the capital. The bee -- Wang said he uses an imported Italian variety -- dies when it stings. "We've treated patients with dozens of diseases, from arthritis to cancer, all with positive results," said Wang.

Comment: Well… paint me blue and call me Uncle Bob…

Lateral wedge insoles not associated with improvement of knee pain in osteoarthritis

Reported in Medical Express, a surprising study. Although a pooling of data from 12 studies showed a statistically significant association between use of lateral wedge insoles and lower pain in medial knee osteoarthritis, among trials comparing wedge insoles with neutral insoles, there was no significant or clinically important association between use of wedge insoles and reduction in knee pain, according to a study in the August 21 issue of JAMA.

I’m not sure whether I believe the results since the wedge insoles do help some people.

Many psoriasis patients dissatisfied with treatment

Kathryn Doyle writing in Reuters reported half of people with psoriasis are not satisfied with the treatment they're receiving for the skin condition, according to a new study. Marked by recurring patches of scaly, itchy skin, psoriasis affects about seven million adults in the U.S. and can be treated with topical creams, light therapy and oral medications. Up to 20 percent of psoriasis patients eventually develop a form of arthritis related to the condition called psoriatic arthritis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Compared to other chronic conditions, patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis may be at particularly increased risk of not receiving adequate treatment," lead author Dr. April Armstrong, a dermatologist at the University of California, Davis, said. Although that's not always a problem for people with mild psoriasis, those with more severe forms of the condition have an increased risk of a range of other health problems, researchers said. Between 2003 and 2011, more than 5,000 psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis patients in the U.S. filled out surveys about prescription medication use and treatment satisfaction for the National Psoriasis Foundation. Depending on the year, between nine and 30 percent of the almost 1,900 people with severe psoriasis were not receiving treatment, with higher percentages for mild and moderate psoriasis. Just over half of psoriasis patients and 45 percent of those with psoriatic arthritis reported being dissatisfied with their treatment, according to results published in JAMA Dermatology.

Comment: Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are major health problems because of the social ostrasization patients feel when they have the disease.

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Don't Touch That!

Eight Ways to Protect Yourself From Germs in Public Places

by:, from: AARP


Beware of these locations and surfaces .  At home, you do all you can to keep germs at bay.  But what happens when you go out to dinner, do some grocery shopping or visit the doctor's office? If you know where germs are most likely to lurk, you can protect yourself.

  1. Restaurant Menus - A study in the Journal of Medical Virology reported that cold and flu viruses can survive for 18 hours on hard surfaces. If it's a popular restaurant, hundreds of people could be handling the menus — and passing their germs on to you. Never let a menu touch your plate or silverware, and be sure to wash your hands after you place your order.

  2. Lemon Wedges - According to a 2007 study in the Journal of Environmental Health, nearly 70 percent of the lemon wedges perched on the rims of restaurant glasses contain disease-causing microbes. When the researchers ordered drinks at 21 different restaurants, they found 25 different microorganisms lingering on the 76 lemons they secured, including E. coli and other fecal bacteria.

  3. Condiment Dispensers - It is the rare eatery that regularly cleans its condiment containers. And many people don't wash their hands before eating.  So while you may be diligent, the guy who poured the ketchup before you may not have been, which means his germs are now on your fingers — and your fries. Squirt hand sanitizer on the outside of the condiment bottle or use a disinfectant wipe before you grab it.

  4. Restroom Door Handles - Don't think you can escape the restroom without touching the door handle? Palm a spare paper towel after you wash up and use it to grasp the handle. Yes, other patrons may think you're a germ-phobe — but you'll never see them again, and you're the one who won't get sick.

  5. Soap Dispensers - About 25 percent of public restroom dispensers are contaminated with fecal bacteria. "And the bottoms are touched by dirty hands, so there's a continuous culture feeding millions of bacteria." Be sure to scrub your hands thoroughly with plenty of hot water for 15 to 20 seconds — and if you happen to have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, use that, too.

  6. Grocery Carts - The handles of almost two-thirds of the shopping carts tested in a 2007 study at the University of Arizona were contaminated with fecal bacteria. To protect yourself: Swab the handle with a disinfectant wipe before grabbing hold (stores are starting to provide them, so look around for a dispenser).

  7. Airplane Bathrooms - When microbiologist Charles Gerba, Ph.D., tested for microbes in the bathrooms of commercial jets, he found surfaces from faucets to doorknobs to be contaminated with E. coli. It's not surprising that people often get sick after traveling by plane. Clean your hands thoroughly with a sanitizer and try not to directly touch the surfaces.

  8. Doctors' Offices - A doctor's office is not the place to be if you're trying to avoid germs. To limit your exposure: Bring your own books and magazines (and toys, if you have your children or grandchildren with you) and pack your own tissues and hand sanitizers, which should have an alcohol content of at least 60 percent.

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake


Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Bake 350°F 30 mins

Cook 5 mins

Average rating 4.0 from 191 reviews


·        1 small onion, chopped

·        1 tbsp. butter

·        2 eggs

·        1 ¼ cups milk

·        ½ cup soft bread crumbs

·        1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

·        8 ounces dried bow tie pasta

·        ¼ - ½ tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)

·        2 cups chopped cooked chicken

·        2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz.)

·        1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

·        1 10 ounce frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

·        ½ cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

·        ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

·        ½ tsp. paprika

·        1 tbsp. butter, melted




1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In medium skillet cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside.

2. In bowl whisk together eggs, milk, seasoning, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Stir in chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, half of the Parmesan, cooked pasta, and onion. Transfer to a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or 3-quart rectangular casserole.

3. Bake, covered, 20 minutes. In small bowl combine remaining Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and melted butter. Sprinkle mixture over pasta. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until golden. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Sea Gold…


It’s the purest form of Omega-3 fish oil available.


Research studies show that omega 3 fish oil health benefits are down-right amazing.  Getting more omega 3 fish oil is one the best things you can do for your health.  And Sea Gold is the purest, most effective dietary fish oil manufactured.


Omega-3 fish oils have been shown to be a remarkably effective and safe treatment for the inflammation of arthritis. 


Omega-3 fish oils have been recommended by more rheumatologists than any other dietary supplement for the control of inflammation that accompanies rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and other forms of inflammatory arthritis.


Studies show that supplementation with fish oils can markedly reduce morning stiffness and the number of painful joints for people who have rheumatoid arthritis.


You'll feel happier and be so much healthier.  That is, if you're getting the omega 3 health benefits from pure high quality omega 3 fish oil such as Sea Gold.


·        Reduce your risk of arthritis, heart attack, stroke, and sudden death.

·        Lower blood pressure.

·        Reduce triglycerides.

·        Improve your memory and energy levels.

·        Reduce your stress and fatigue.

·        Reduces breast, colon and prostate cancer.

·        Live a strong healthier life!


And now it's time to put all these omega 3 fish oil health benefits to work by eating more oily fish and taking quality fish oil supplements every day.


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Call our office at 301-694-5800 to speak with our product specialist.  


Wei’s World September 2013

On a few occasions, I’ve mentioned my love of fishing. This past July, I had the opportunity to travel to Northern Ontario with a friend and spend three days on a lake fishing for walleye and Northern pike. To get there, we had to travel to Sault St Marie, Ontario, drive three hours north and then take a float plane another hour north.

The airport at Sault St Marie was small and a real pleasure, no long lines like the ones usually found at local Washington, D.C. airports.

I was fooled by the gas prices in Canada. The prices posted at the gas stations were really low… until I realized, the prices were for a liter, not a gallon!

What beautiful scenery. Unlike the United States, Canada remains pristine. The Canadians take great pride in protecting their environment.

I had been to this particular place, Pine Portage Lodge, seven years earlier with my father and one of my sons. Despite his progressive dementia, until his death this past year, my father’s eyes always lit up when I mentioned that fishing trip. It was a real high point for him. And I felt grateful that I could take him on this trip since he was the one who first introduced me to fishing when I was five years old.

This time the experience was different since my dad and my son weren’t with me.

If you’ve never been on a float plane, it’s quite an adventure. The pilot has to wait for the right time when the fog has lifted and there’s enough visibility to take off. The plane sits on pontoons and as the engines begin to whine, you feel the plane skid on the water until it lifts off. The plane doesn’t fly too high but high enough so you can look down through the fog and see the pine and birch trees and lakes below. Scary… but exhilarating at the same time. My friend, Scott, and I had a great time. The fishing lodge was still as remote as I remembered and the people and service were still superb. Scott works for Marriott and he was quite impressed by the hospitality.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great. It rained the first day and it was definitely chillier than Maryland. I must admit, I’m a fair weather fisherman.

Our guide, Bill, was a hoot. And the fishing was great. We caught a lot of fish… enough to enjoy shore lunches, prepared by Bill, each of the three days we were there. And he also taught us how he fillets the fish. Scott and I tried our hand at it but we definitely have a long way to go.

We also met many nice friendly people at the lodge who shared our love of fishing. Most were from other parts of Canada but many were from the upper Midwest. What I didn’t miss was the lack of access to computers and even phone service. There’s a lot to be said for just unplugging and getting away from it all. I look forward to going back again.

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