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August 4, 2011, 8:20 AM CT

Why knee osteoarthritis afflicts more women than men

Why knee osteoarthritis afflicts more women than men

A Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon suspects that the nagging pain and inflammation that women can experience in their knees appears to be different from what men encounter, and she has been chosen to lead a novel U.S.-Canadian study to explore the question. The Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR) and its Interdisciplinary Studies in Sex-Differences (ISIS) Network on Musculoskeletal Health has awarded a group of scientists a $127,000 grant to lead a pilot project to understand whether biological differences between men and women affect the incidence and severity of knee osteoarthritis. Mary I. O'Connor, M.D., chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida, will be the study's principal investigator.

Osteoarthritis, characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in the joint resulting in stiffness and pain, is the most common form of arthritis. It affects approximately 27 million Americans.

"Knee osteoarthritis is a leading cause of disability in the U.S. and women have greater pain and reductions in function and quality of life from this condition than do men," Dr. O'Connor says. "Knee osteoarthritis is also more common in women than men".

While the underlying mechanisms for differences in knee osteoarthritis between men and women are still not known, recent studies have indicated sex differences at the cellular and molecular levels may influence development of the disease, she says. Answers could provide valuable clues for more effective therapy and possible prevention, Dr. O'Connor says.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 19, 2011, 8:45 AM CT

African-Americans with SLE more responsive to flu vaccine

African-Americans with SLE more responsive to flu vaccine
New research shows that African Americans with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) had a higher antibody response to influenza vaccination than European American patients. Treatment with prednisone, a history of hemolytic anemia, and increased disease flares were also associated with low antibody response in SLE patients who received the flu vaccine as per the study now available in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a peer-evaluated journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

The ACR estimates that up to 322,000 adult Americans are burdened with SLE, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system fails to recognize the difference between healthy cells and foreign substances (bacteria and viruses), producing autoantibodies that attack a person's own tissues and organs. Medical evidence shows that infectious diseases are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality for lupus patients, responsible for up to 23% of all hospitalization and 20% to 50% of all deaths. Current clinical practice advises vaccination against common infectious diseases, such as influenza, for patients with lupus to reduce their risk of infection.

"SLE patients are more susceptible to infection which is likely the result of immunosuppressive treatment and inherent deficiencies of the immune system," said lead researcher Dr. Judith James, Chair of the Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Program at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. "Our study explored multiple factors which influence response to influenza vaccination in SLE patients with active and inactive disease activity".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 14, 2011, 6:55 AM CT

Obesity and knee arthritis

Obesity and knee arthritis
More than 14 million visits were made to physicians' offices in 2008 by patients with knee problems. Five new studies presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) look at the effect that obesity has on knee arthritis and a patient's ability to recover from knee surgery.



Does Obesity Cause Irreparable Damage To Knees Despite Weight Loss? (Embargo: February 15)


One newly released study observed that while weight loss via bariatric surgery may improve knee pain in obese patients with knee osteoarthritis, there appears to be permanent damage to the knee from being morbidly obese.

The investigation included 10 morbidly obese patients with knee osteoarthritis who were reviewed before and after bariatric surgery. Patients lost an average of 51 pounds in one year. One year after surgery, knee pain and function improved significantly.

"For a long time people felt there was nothing they could do to mitigate the debilitating effects of knee arthritis, but now we know that surgically-assisted weight loss is a way that folks can help themselves," says Michael S. Sridhar, MD, co-investigator and resident at Emory University. "However, there is probably some element of irreparable damage from being morbidly obese that may constrain the improvement in knee pain despite significant weight loss. Looking at the actual joint surfaces with advanced imaging to assess damage is the exciting next step in studying the evolution of knee arthritis in the obese population."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 1, 2011, 7:01 AM CT

Key to understanding cause of lupus

Key to understanding cause of lupus
S. Ansar Ahmed (left), immunolgy professor and head of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, and Rujuan Dai, a research scientist at the veterinary college, published research that can potentially impact future diagnosis and treatment of lupus, an immune illness affecting more than five million people worldwide.

Credit: Virginia Tech Photo

Potentially impacting future diagnosis and therapy of lupus, an immune illness affecting more than 5 million people worldwide, scientists at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech have likely uncovered where the breakdown in the body's lymphocyte molecular regulatory machinery is occurring.

Rujuan Dai, research scientist, and her colleagues in the veterinary college's Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, have discovered a "common set of dysregulated miRNAs in murine lupus models." The research, which appears in the Dec. 13, 2010, issue of the scientific journal PLoS One, was funded in part by the Lupus Foundation of America.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease of connective tissue that causes the body's immune system to become hyperactive and attack normal, healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, and possible damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, or lungs.

In an effort to better understand epigenetic factors in the causes of lupus, scientists at the veterinary college focused on microRNA (miRNA), seeking to determine potential impairments of genetic regulation. These small RNAs control gene expression by directly regulating specific target messenger RNAs via inhibition of their translation or inducing their degradation.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 8, 2010, 7:46 AM CT

Tai Chi relieves arthritis pain

Tai Chi relieves arthritis pain
In the largest study to date of the Arthritis Foundation's Tai Chi program, participants showed improvement in pain, fatigue, stiffness and sense of well-being.

Their ability to reach while maintaining balance also improved, said Leigh Callahan, PhD, the study's main author, associate professor in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and a member of UNC's Thurston Arthritis Research Center.

"Our study shows that there are significant benefits of the Tai Chi course for individuals with all types of arthritis, including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis," Callahan said. "We found this in both rural and urban settings across a southeastern state and a northeastern state".

Callahan will present these results on Monday, Nov. 8, at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Atlanta.

In the study, 354 participants were recruited from 20 sites in North Carolina and New Jersey. They were randomly assigned to two groups. The intervention group received the 8-week, twice-weekly Tai Chi course immediately while the other group was a delayed control group. All participants received baseline and 8-week follow-up assessments, after which the control group also received the Tai Chi course.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 28, 2010, 8:05 AM CT

Glucosamine causes the death of pancreatic cells

Glucosamine causes the death of pancreatic cells
High doses or prolonged use of glucosamine causes the death of pancreatic cells and could increase the risk of developing diabetes, as per a team of scientists at Universit Laval's Faculty of Pharmacy. Details of this discovery were recently published on the website of the Journal of Endocrinology

In vitro tests conducted by Professor Frdric Picard and his team revealed that glucosamine exposure causes a significant increase in mortality in insulin-producing pancreatic cells, a phenomenon tied to the development of diabetes. Cell death rate increases with glucosamine dose and exposure time. "In our experiments, we used doses five to ten times higher than that recommended by most manufacturers, or 1,500 mg/day," stressed Professor Picard. "Prior studies showed that a significant proportion of glucosamine users up the dose hoping to increase the effects," he explained.

Picard and his team have shown that glucosamine triggers a mechanism intended to lower very high blood sugar levels. However, this reaction negatively affects SIRT1, a protein critical to cell survival. A high concentration of glucosamine diminishes the level of SIRT1, leading to cell death in the tissues where this protein is abundant, such as the pancreas.

Individuals who use large amounts of glucosamine, those who consume it for long periods, and those with little SIRT1 in their cells are therefore thought to beat greater risk of developing diabetes. In many mammal species, SIRT1 level diminishes with age. This phenomenon has not been shown in humans but if it were the case, the elderlywho constitute the target market for glucosaminewould be even more vulnerable.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 14, 2010, 7:27 AM CT

Yoga can counteract fibromyalgia

Yoga can counteract fibromyalgia
PORTLAND, Ore As per new research conducted at Oregon Health & Science University, yoga exercises may have the power to combat fibromyalgia a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain. The research is being reported in the November 10 online edition of the journal Pain and will appear online Thursday, Oct. 14.

"Prior research suggests that the most successful therapy for fibromyalgia involves a combination of medications, physical exercise and development of coping skills," said James Carson, Ph.D., a clinical health psychology expert and an assistant professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. "Here, we specifically focused on yoga to determine whether it should be considered as a prescribed therapy and the extent to which it can be successful".

In this study, scientists enrolled 53 female study subjects previously diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The women were randomly assigned to two research groups. The first group participated in an eight-week yoga program, which included gentle poses, meditation, breathing exercises and group discussions. The second group of women the control group received standard medicine therapys for fibromyalgia.

Following completion of the yoga program, scientists assessed each study subject using questionnaires and physical tests. The results were then compared with testing results obtained previous to the yoga classes. The members of the control group underwent the same assessments. In addition, each participant in the yoga group was urged to keep a daily diary to personally assess their condition throughout the entire program.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 24, 2010, 7:10 AM CT

Genetic variation linked to lupus

Genetic variation linked to lupus
Genes reside along long chains of DNA called chromosomes. UCLA scientists have observed that a variation in a gene on the sex chromosome X may enhance an immune response that leads to lupus in men.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that predominantly affects women. Interestingly, scientists observed that eventhough the variation occurred in a gene on the X, or female, chromosome, its influence was stronger in men than in women. Humans hold two sex chromosomes men have an X and Y, while women have two Xs. Prior studies have shown that genetic variations on the X chromosome contribute to the development of lupus.

In this study, scientists observed that certain common variations of DNA sequences within a specific X-linked gene triggered a stronger response in the immune system, increasing the risk of developing lupus, particularly in men.

This study was part of an international effort to study the genetics of lupus in broader ethnic groups. Scientists genotyped 9,274 Eastern Asians individuals, including those with lupus and healthy controls. The stronger genetic effects were seen in men, compared with women, and particularly in Chinese and Japanese men. Further study will look at other ethnicities.

Scientists say the finding will lead to greater understanding of the development of lupus and to further exploration of the sex-specific genetic contributions of the disease, which could result in more targeted therapies.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


July 7, 2010, 6:52 AM CT

How patients manage chronic lower-back pain

How patients manage chronic lower-back pain
Approximately 10% of low back pain (LBP) sufferers experience persistent pain and significant disability. As per a research findings reported in the recent issue of Pain, a group of Australian scientists investigating the relevance of health literacy in patients with chronic lower back pain (CLBP) observed that LBP-related beliefs and behaviors affect a person's disability more than pain intensity or a standard measure of functional health literacy. However, when delving deeper into aspects of health literacy, important factors were identified which might help to explain disability linked to CLBP, highlighting important factors to consider in the delivery of information for CLBP.

Health literacy, the ability to seek, understand and utilize health information, is important for good health. Low levels of health literacy have been linked to poorer health outcomes in a number of chronic conditions, eventhough this had not been studied previously in CLBP, even though CLBP imposes a significant personal and societal burden.

The health literacy of individuals with CLBP was examined using a mixed methods approach. 117 adults participated, comprising 61 with no history of CLBP and 56 with CLBP (28 with low and high disability, respectively, as determined by a median split in disability using a scoring system for characterizing disability linked to lower back. pain). The sample group consisted of Australian adults from a middle class community with a similar socioeconomic status.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 29, 2010, 7:21 AM CT

Lower back pain and surgery

Lower back pain and surgery
A literature review, led by Dr. Joseph Lee, reported in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS) suggests that a herniated disk is one of the most frequent causes of low back and leg pain in adults, but surgery is not for everyone. Between 60 and 80 percent of people will experience low back pain at some point in their lives.

Disks, which are strong shock absorbers between the vertebrae, can begin to herniate or weaken when their jelly-like nucleus pushes against the outer ring due to aging or a sudden injury. This pressure against the outer ring is often what causes lower back pain.

"Orthopaedic surgeons can help by educating patients about the risks of back surgery and work with the patient to determine the best course of therapy, whether it be surgical or non-surgical," stated review co-author Mark Weidenbaum, MD, Director of Orthopaedic Spine Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Milstein Pavilion, Columbia University Medical Center, New York.

A herniated disk can sometimes be very painful and most people feel better with just a few months of nonsurgical therapy, which can consist of physical treatment, medications or epidural steroids. However, some patients are treated with a surgical procedure known as a diskectomy.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 24, 2010, 10:37 PM CT

Aerobic exercise for rheumatoid arthritis patients

Aerobic exercise for rheumatoid arthritis patients
Scientists from the University of Grenoble Medical School in France determined that cardio-respiratory aerobic exercise is safe for patients with stable rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The team observed that RA patients who exercised regularly had improved function, less joint pain, and greater quality of life. Full findings of the study are now available online and will publish in the July print issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

RA, a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by swollen joints, pain, stiffness, fatigue, and general malaise affects up to 1% of the global population, as per the World Health Organization (WHO). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) citing health-related quality of life (HRQL) studies observed that RA patients were 40% more likely to report fair or poor general health and twice as likely to have a health-related activity limitation compared with those without arthritis.

The current study led by Athan Baillet, M.D., conducted an abstract search of relative medical journals for studies that researched RA patients and impact of aerobic exercise. The team analyzed 14 studies and meta-analysis included 510 patients in the intervention group and 530 in the control group. Participants in these studies had a mean age of 44-68 years and their RA disease duration was 1-16 years. Scientists compared HRQL, the Health Evaluation Questionnaire (HAQ), joint count, and pain using a visual analog scale (VAS) among patients in the studies.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 18, 2010, 6:48 AM CT

Risk of heart attack in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients

Risk of heart attack in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients face a two hundred percent increased risk of suffering a Myocardial Infarction (MI, heart attack) versus the general population, which is comparable to the increased risk of MI seen in diabetes patients, as per results of a newly released study presented today at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy.

In this Danish, nationwide, 10 year study, RA and diabetes patients were directly in comparison to assess their individual risk of having an MI over time. In those patients that developed RA, the Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) of experiencing a MI was increased to 1.65 (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.46-1.86), comparable to the increased risk of MI seen in patients developing diabetes mellitus (IRR 1.73 95% CI (1.68-1.79)). Data was further analysed to examine increased risk in certain age groups and scientists observed that the risk of MI was increased six-fold in women with RA younger than 50 years (IRR 6.01 95% CI (3.62-9.99)) comparable to diabetic women in the same age range (IRR 6.13 95% CI (4.99-7.54)). Overall, the risk of MI in patients with RA and diabetes was similar for male patients at IRR 1.66 (1.39-1.98) and 1.59 (1.53-1.66) respectively.

"While we already know that RA is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, our data highlight that the increased risk of a heart attack faced by RA patients is of a similar magnitude as that faced by diabetes patients, who in contrast to RA patients are routinely considered for intensive cardiovascular risk management," said Dr. Jesper Lindhardsen, Department of Cardiology, Gentofte University Hospital, Hellerup, Denmark, and main author of the study. "This study underlines the importance of implementing EULAR recommendations advocating early detection and management of cardiovascular risk factors, as well as providing sufficient RA therapy in order to reduce the significant burden linked to cardiovascular disease co-morbidity and mortality".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 18, 2010, 6:46 AM CT

Vitamin D deficiency and rheumatic conditions

Vitamin D deficiency and rheumatic conditions
Two separate studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with a range of rheumatic diseases, with over half of all patients having below the 'normal' healthy levels of vitamin D (48-145 nmol/L) in their bodies. A further study assessing response to vitamin D supplementation observed that taking the recommended daily dose did not normalise vitamin D levels in rheumatic disease patients. The results of these three studies were presented today at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy.

A UK study1 of 180 patients aimed to assess mean levels of vitamin D in patients with inflammatory joint diseases, osteoarthritis and myalgia (muscle pain that, when experienced long term appears to be linked to nutritional deficiency). Data on vitamin D levels were gathered and results showed that 58% of individuals with a rheumatic condition had levels below that clinically considered to be 'sufficient' in healthy subjects (48-145 nmol/L).

An Italian study2 of 1,191 RA patients aimed to determine a connection between vitamin D deficiency and several different clinical measures of disease activity. Scientists observed that, regardless of supplementation, levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), (a standard clinical measure of vitamin D in the blood), were lower than healthy levels (<50 nmol/L) in 85% of the patients not taking a vitamin D supplement and in 60% of those taking 800 IU or more vitamin D daily as a supplement. In non-supplemented patients levels of 25(OH)D significantly correlated with three measures of disease activity - the Health Evaluation Questionnaire Disability Index, (p=0.000) the Mobility Activities of Daily Living Score (p=0.000) and the Number of Swollen Joints count (p=0.000).........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 29, 2010, 6:25 AM CT

Antibiotic for reactive arthritis

Antibiotic for reactive arthritis
Scientists from University of South Florida College of Medicine found a combination of antibiotics to be an effective therapy for Chlamydia-induced reactive arthritis, a major step forward in the management, and possibly cure, of this disease. Results of this study are reported in the recent issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

Reactive arthritis (ReA), also known as Reiter's syndrome, occurs in response to an infection. As per National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the bacterium most often linked to ReA is Chlamydia trachomatis. Respiratory infections with Chlamydia pneumoniae can also trigger ReA, while associated infections in the digestive tract include Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, and Campylobacter. ReA symptoms commonly last 3 to 12 months, eventhough symptoms can return or develop into a long-term disease. In the past it was thought that only a small percentage of people would experience chronic symptoms of ReA. However, more recent data suggests that as a number of as 30%-50% of patients could develop a chronic form of the disease. In chronic ReA, symptoms can be severe and difficult to control with therapy, which could lead to joint damage.

The use of long-term antibiotic therapy for patients with ReA is controversial. Several reported studies have indicated that prolonged antimicrobial monotherapy is not efficacious, while other studies suggest there might be a benefit, specifically with early-stage Chlamydia-induced ReA.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


March 19, 2010, 10:44 AM CT

Ultrasound to Treat Chronic Pain

Ultrasound to Treat Chronic Pain
An osteoarthritic knee has damaged joint surfaces, inflamation and swelling. This creates a stagnant environment. Just like a saturated sponge will not accept more water, the osteoarthritic joint is slow to soak up nutrients. However, ultrasound delivered at a low volume for a long time through a newly designed compact transducer agitates remaining cartilage and tissues. The ultrasound penetrates the joint and tissues. It stimulates the joint thermally and mechanically and improves permeability, creating a dynamic environment conducive to healing. Similar to a sponge that has been wrung out, the treated knee is now able to absorb nutrients. The waste is removed and swelling subsides.

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation
Imagine that after long day tending to patients, a middle-aged nurse feels a burning pain in her knees so intense she can barely walk. For millions of people who suffer from arthritis or other chronic joint pain, this is a familiar story. Right now there are few day-to-day therapies available for these patients, and a number of involve strong medications that can be harmful over time.

If George K. Lewis, a biomedical engineering graduate student at Cornell University has his way, there may soon be another option. Lewis and colleagues have created a miniaturized ultrasound device that would allow patients to apply ultrasound treatment to inflamed joints at home, work, or even while going about their day.

Most of us are familiar with the amazing powers of diagnostic ultrasound technologies in modern medicine, which allow doctors to tell us the gender of a child previous to birth or the condition of our internal organs without exploratory surgery. Doctors have also used ultrasound therapeutically to effectively treat joint pain from arthritis and other ailments without the use of drugs. The drawback to these current therapys, however, is that they can only be administered in a doctor's office or clinic, since the ultrasound devices available are bulky and expensive.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


March 4, 2010, 9:52 PM CT

Acupuncture may relieve joint pain

Acupuncture may relieve joint pain
A newly released study, led by scientists at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, demonstrates that acupuncture appears to be an effective treatment for joint pain and stiffness in patients with breast cancer who are being treated with usually used hormonal therapies. Results were reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology

Joint pain and stiffness are common side effects of aromatase inhibitor treatment, in which the synthesis of estrogen is blocked. The treatment, which is a common and effective therapy for early-stage, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer in post-menopausal women, has been shown in prior research to cause some joint pain and stiffness in half of women being treated.

"Since aromatase inhibitors have become an increasingly popular therapy option for some patients with breast cancer, we aimed to find a non-drug option to manage the joint issues they often create, thereby improving quality of life and reducing the likelihood that patients would discontinue this potentially life-saving therapy," said Dawn Hershman, M.D, M.S., senior author of the paper, and co-director of the breast cancer program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, and an assistant professor of medicine (hematology/oncology) and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 25, 2010, 1:42 AM CT

Obesity, physical inactivity and arthritis

Obesity, physical inactivity and arthritis
Scientists from the Toronto Western Research Institute noted a higher prevalence of arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitations (AAL) in the U.S. versus the Canadian population. The authors attribute the higher prevalence of arthritis and AAL to a greater level of obesity and physical inactivity in Americans, especially women. Full findings of this study are reported in the recent issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

Arthritis is the leading cause of physical disability, and one of the most frequently reported chronic conditions in the U.S. and Canada. Those in mid to late life are especially vulnerable to this disabling condition, which is expected to increase in both countries due to the aging baby boomer population. As per a 2005 figure from the National Arthritis Data Workgroup more than 21% of American adults (46 million) have arthritis or another rheumatic condition and over 60% of arthritis patients are women. The 2008 Canadian Community Health Survey reported 15.3% (4.3 million) of Canadians have some form of arthritis, with more women then men affected.

This study is the first to provide a direct comparison of U.S. and Canadian data in search of between-country disparities linked to the prevalence of arthritis and AAL. The authors analyzed results from the Joint Canada/United States Survey of Health (JCUSH) conducted in cooperation by Statistics Canada and the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics during 2002-2003. Data were obtained for 3,505 Canadians and 5,183 Americans with an overall response rate of 65.5% and 50.2%, respectively.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 25, 2010, 1:31 AM CT

Prozac and Celexa exhibit anti-inflammatory effects

Prozac and Celexa exhibit anti-inflammatory effects
A newly released study observed that fluoxetine (Prozac) and citalopram (Celexa) therapy significantly inhibited disease progression of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice. Research led by Sandra Sacre, Ph.D. from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) in the UK studied the anti-arthritic potential of these drugs, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), most usually used to treat depression. Both SSRIs exhibited anti-inflammatory effects and may provide drug development opportunities for arthritic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Full findings of this study are reported in the recent issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

RA is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the lining of the joints. Typically, RA first affects hand and foot joints and later the disease spreads to larger joints. Inflammation eventually erodes the cartilage between the joints (articular cartilage) causing pain, stiffness, joint deformity, and physical disability. As per the 2000 Global Disease Burden study by the World Health Organization (WHO), RA affects approximately 1% of the world population.

To understand the anti-inflammatory properties of SSRIs, the research team at The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology investigated the use of fluoxetine and citalopram in mouse and human models of RA. Dr Sacre, a lecturer in molecular cell biology at BSMS, a partnership between the universities of Brighton and Sussex, said: "We were interested in SSRIs because of their reported anti-inflammatory effects." "Previous studies have shown that patients with depression who respond to therapy with SSRIs display a reduction in cytokine levels (signals that can induce inflammation), suggesting a correlation between SSRIs and the immune system." .........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 1, 2010, 8:16 AM CT

Tailoring treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

Tailoring treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
Investigators have identified a biomarker that could help doctors select patients with rheumatoid arthritis who will benefit from treatment with drugs such as Enbrel, a tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-antagonist drug. The study, led by scientists at Hospital for Special Surgery in collaboration with rheumatologists at University of Southern California, appears in the recent issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

"While our study waccording toformed on a relatively small group of patients and will need to be confirmed in a larger cohort, the data are promising and appears to be clinically significant for the medical management of patients," said Mary K. Crow, M.D., director of Rheumatology Research and co-director of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research at Hospital for Special Surgery. "Treatment with these drugs is very expensive; the drugs can cost around $16,000 or so per year. If you are going to use them, you would like to know that they are likely to work in your patient." Other well-known TNF-antagonists include Humira and Remicade.

While TNF antagonists have brought relief to thousands of people with rheumatoid arthritis, the drugs are not highly effective in 30 percent to 50 percent of patients. Clinicians thus run the risk of providing a treatment to patients that doesn't work well, is expensive and is potentially toxic. Patients taking TNF antagonists, which have been available for roughly ten years, can run the risk of developing bacterial or fungal infections.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 1, 2010, 8:04 AM CT

Most patients gain weight after getting a new knee

Most patients gain weight after getting a new knee
You'd think folks who've had knee replacement surgery -- finally able to walk and exercise without pain -- would lose weight instead of put on pounds, but surprisingly that's not the case, as per a University of Delaware study.

Scientists Joseph Zeni and Lynn Snyder-Mackler in the Department of Physical Therapy in UD's College of Health Sciences observed that patients typically drop weight in the first few weeks after total knee arthroplasty (TKA), but then the number on the scale starts creeping upward, with an average weight gain of 14 pounds in two years.

The study, which was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, is published in the Jan. 15 online edition of Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, the official journal of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International.

The research involved 106 individuals with end-stage osteoarthritis who had knee replacement surgery, and an age-matched, healthy control group of 31 subjects who did not have surgery. Height, weight, quadriceps strength, and self-perceived functional ability were measured during an initial visit to UD's Physical Therapy Clinic, and at a follow-up visit two years later.

"We saw a significant increase in body mass index (BMI) over two years for the surgical group, but not the control group," says Zeni, a research assistant professor at UD. "Sixty-six percent of the people in the surgical group gained weight over the two years -- the average weight gain was 14 pounds".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
A recently identified path of inflammation once thought to be wholly independent of other inflammatory systems has now been linked to another major pathway. The findings by neuroresearchers at Johns Hopkins are likely to point researchers to novel drugs that significantly reduce the risks of taking COX-2 inhibitor pain relievers, the researchers report.

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