Is methotrexate good enough for rheumatoid arthritis?

Is methotrexate alone good enough for rheumatoid arthritis? Apparently not…

Reported in Healio, this item…

Anti-TNF plus methotrexate decreases radiological progression for patients with early rheumatoid arthritis.

Patients with early rheumatoid arthritis who underwent methotrexate monotherapy showed a more rapid radiological progression and less radiological non-progression, while patients who underwent anti-tumor necrosis factor plus methotrexate had decreased radiological progression, according to study results.
Comment: Not surprising and confirms what we already thought.

Why do older individuals get tendon problems so easily… here’s why…
Age may reduce ability of tendons to repair themselves

Catherine Paddock writing for Medical News Today reported new research from the UK suggests that tendons break down with age because they lose the ability to repair themselves effectively, allowing protein fragments to accumulate over time. The researchers, from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Liverpool, hope their findings will offer targets for treatments to prevent breakdown of tendon tissue.
Comment: This is the reason why ultrasound guided PRP injection for tendon damage is so successful and useful in these cases.

Could a 5 cent pill be the key to longevity? Maybe so…
Daily Aspirin May Help Prevent Cancer, Study Shows
Steven Reinberg writing in Healthday — Taking aspirin every day appears to reduce the odds of developing and dying from colon, stomach or esophageal cancer, a new study suggests.
Based on a review of available studies, researchers determined that the benefits of aspirin therapy for preventing cancer outweigh the risks. Millions of people already take this inexpensive drug to prevent or treat heart disease.
“We came to the conclusion that most people between the ages of 50 and 65 would benefit from a daily aspirin,” said lead researcher Jack Cuzick, head of the Center for Cancer Prevention at Queen Mary, University of London.
“It looks like if everyone took a daily aspirin, there would be less cancer, and that would far outweigh any side effects,” added Cuzick.
Gastrointestinal bleeding is the most serious side effect associated with aspirin.
Taking aspirin for 10 years could cut colon cancer risk by around 35 percent and deaths from colon cancer by 40 percent, the researchers reported Aug. 6 in the Annals of Oncology.
Comment: Aspirin’s benefits have been suggested for years. The downside is the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding but it appears the benefits outweigh the risks. Consult your doctor before trying this though.

Exercise for arthritis. Why is it ignored?
Does physical activity show signs of a tomato effect? You might rightly ask: “What’s a tomato effect?”
Heather Hausenblas writing in US News and World Report reported. The tomato effect is a term used to describe a phenomenon whereby highly efficacious therapies are either ignored or rejected. Generally, the reason for this is that the therapies don’t seem to make sense in light of popular beliefs or common understandings. A tomato effect, however, can also occur if people simply ignore the evidence available.
For example, the use of aspirin to reduce the pain, swelling, and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by a tomato effect. Why? At the end of the 19th century, several studies found that aspirin worked in relieving the pain, swelling and stiffness of this disease. Also at this time came the acceptance of the infectious theory of disease. So it just did not make sense that aspirin, a pain and fever medicine could have a positive effect on a chronic infectious disease like rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, from 1900 to 1950, most medical textbooks and articles on the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis didn’t mention aspirin as a potential treatment. By the early 1950s, the infectious theory was discarded, and rheumatoid arthritis was seen as a chronic inflammatory disease. Aspirin only became an accepted treatment about 70 years after the original studies found that aspirin is effective in treating arthritis.
Comment: Dr. Hausenblas has a point for sure.

Here’s one for Animal Planet fans…
Animal joint surgeries may lead to human repairs
Krishna Ramanujan writing for Medical Xpress reported a pair of unique surgical procedures performed on animals, promises to revolutionize the ways surgeons repair cartilage and meniscus tears in human knees and other joints.
In the first set of procedures, a cross-institutional, interdisciplinary team of surgeons and researchers tried a new method for cartilage repair on horses at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals.
Another team will try a meniscus repair procedure on sheep. The meniscus repair involves custom-designed and individualized replacement parts. With information from an MRI scan of the patient’s joint, the researchers will use a 3-D printer to assemble an artificial meniscus fitted to the patient’s body.
“The goal is to make these technologies available for people,” said Lisa Fortier, professor of large animal surgery at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “If they do well in these animals, then the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] can approve it for use in humans,” a process that can take months or years, Fortier said.
Comment: Wake up neighing like a horse after one of these transplants… wouldn’t that be surprising.

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