Americans Wearing Out Joints At Younger Ages

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Americans Wearing Out Their Joints At Younger Ages.

In the Health Journal column in the Wall Street Journal, Melinda Beck writes that Americans are wearing out their joints at younger ages. Many middle-agers are wearing out their joints with marathons, triathlons and other sports. Also, they are suffering osteoarthritis years earlier than previous generations. Knee and hip implant makers are working to build joints with longer-wearing materials. In addition, surgeons are offering more options like partial knee replacements and hip resurfacing.

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More Physicians Recommending Physical Activity To Osteoarthritis Patients.

Laura Landro writing in the Wall Street Journal reports that physicians are increasingly recommending physical activity to help patients with osteoarthritis.  Kate Lorig, director of the Patient Education Research Center at Stanford University, said, “The most dangerous exercise you can do when you have arthritis is none.” According to Harvard Medical School experts, strengthening the muscles around the hip or knees can help support the joints and take over some of the shock-absorbing role played by cartilage.

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Mind Tricks May Help Arthritic Pain

Anthony Bartram, BBC News Correspondent, writes “a chance discovery by academics in Nottingham has found that a simple optical illusion could unlock a drug-free treatment for arthritis.”  The computer-generated mind trick has been tested on a small sample of sufferers and found that in 85 percent of cases, it cut their pain in half.  Research is still in the early stages, but initial results suggest the technology, called Mirage, could help patients improve mobility in their hands by reducing the amount of pain they experience.

For the illusion to work patients place their hand inside a box containing a camera, which then projects the image in real-time onto a screen in front of them. The subject then sees their arthritic fingers being apparently stretched and shrunk by someone gently pushing and pulling from the other side of the box.  The Mirage mind trick has been developed by The University of Nottingham’s Psychology department.  Pam Tegerdine, from Nottingham, volunteered for the first study. She has suffered with osteoarthritis since her 30s and now has constant pain in her hands, feet, and lower back.  Physiotherapy and numerous prescription drugs help, but she said the optical-illusion technology was like nothing she had ever experienced.  “It was a very weird sensation, but as my finger was being ‘stretched’ it felt more and more comfortable. I just wanted it to stay like that, to keep that image in my head. If this could lead to a drug-free treatment for arthritis then that would be fantastic.”  The pain reduction worked only when painful parts of the hand were “manipulated” and for a third of the volunteers it temporarily eliminated the pain altogether.

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Green tea supplements, Tai Chi May Improve Bone, Muscle Strength In Postmenopausal Women.

Laura Dean writing in Medwire reported, “Green tea polyphenol (GTP) supplementation combined with Tai Chi (TC) exercise improves bone remodeling and muscle strength in postmenopausal women with osteopenia,” according to research presented at the Experimental Biology meeting. For the study, researchers “evaluated the effect of dietary supplementation with green tea supplements and a TC exercise program (3 times per week) on the bone health of 171 postmenopausal women (mean age 57 years) with osteopenia.”  The researchers found “that women who received GTP-only had higher levels of bone-specific alkaline phosphatase versus placebo after 4 weeks, while women who took part in TC had higher BAP levels versus placebo after 12 weeks.”  Here is more interesting info on complementary therapies.

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Gender Determines Amount Of Bone Loss Prevented By Eating Fish

Laura Dean writing in Medwire reported that eating “at least three servings” of fish, particularly “dark fish,” per week may protect against “age-related bone loss,” according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Researchers found that high intakes of “particular types of fish relative to low intakes were significantly associated with less bone loss in men (dark fish, tuna, and dark fish + tuna) and women (dark fish only).” But only men who ate the most fish lost “significantly less” BMD over four years.

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