Acetaminophen Doesn’t Work for Osteoarthritis Pain

A widely used useless treatment for osteoarthritis. Are you taking it?

Acetaminophen may have little effect on osteoarthritic pain

Melissa Healey writing for the Los Angeles times reported that investigators analyzed data from 74 trials of pain medications. The data, published in the Lancet, indicated that “in older patients with osteoarthritis, acetaminophen provides no more pain relief and improvement in day-to-day function than does a placebo.” The researchers also found that several non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) had high probabilities of improving arthritis pain of the hips and knees.

Comment: No surprise here.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Progression Rate Has Halved Since 1990

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Janis Kelly writing in Medscape reported the natural history of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has changed dramatically since 1990, apparently as a result of advances in RA treatment, such as the use of biologicals and more aggressive “treat to target” clinical approaches. The annual progression rates in studies of long-term progression reported after 1990 were less than half those reported in the prior 25 years, researchers report in an article published in the journal, Rheumatology.

Comment: When I talk with my patients with rheumatoid arthritis I tell them it’s actually a good diagnosis to have since the likelihood of going into remission is quite high.

Our focus has been on arthritis in humans. We forget that animals also suffer from arthritis… next

African tusker dies of arthritis

Reported in the Times of India… Timbo, an African tusker that lived for four decades at My suru Zoo, died of illness early on Wednesday. Its mate had died seven years ago.

The zoo is now left with one African tusker, aged 20, and eight Asian elephants. Timbo was the main attraction for four decades because of its majestic look and wide ears.

Three expert vets, including one from Kerala, were assisting zoo authorities in treating the tusker suffering from chronic arthritis.

Dr Khadri, Dr Jacob Cheeran, an elephant expert from Kerala, Dr Dhanalakshmi, assistant professor, Veterinary College, Shivamogga, were taking care of the tusker. Khadri had visited the zoo to check its health while the other two were assisting through a network.

Comment: Well… are you surprised? I’m not…

If you have fibromyalgia, you no doubt have tried many treatments. Have you ever wondered if there is something that is not a pill, is relatively safe, and definitely effective? While some physicians are skeptical about this one form of treatment, a recent study has shown that there is hope… next

Acupuncture Can Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain, If It’s Tailored Per Patient

Caitlyn Fitzpatrick writing in MD reported according to a new study, scientists have figured out the   factor that separates successes from failure with acupuncture in fibromyalgia.

It was just recently that a study conducted in Brazil concluded that acupuncture does not relieve pain in women with fibromyalgia. However, like many other studies, this one looked at the effects of standard acupuncture treatment. A new analysis by researchers in Spain found that the therapy does alleviate pain – when it’s individualized for each patient.

The cohort included 153 patients with fibromyalgia who were at least 18 years old. The participants were randomly assigned to either receive individualized acupuncture or simulated “fake” acupuncture. Each treatment consisted of one 20-minute session per week for 10 weeks, and they also used pain medication.

“This treatment produced an improvement in the participants’ condition, reflected by a reduction in pain intensity and enhanced functional capacity and quality of life after the intervention and during the follow up period,” the authors summed up in Acupuncture in Medicine. Side effects were mild and not common.


Previous studies have not observed these kinds of outcomes because they focused on standardized acupuncture as opposed to individualized treatment.


Comment: I think the results definitely make sense.

Have you ever wondered whether tattoos predispose you to infections? While some of that is real worry, there’s a surprise coming up next…

Tattoos Could Help Boost Your Immune System

Amy Jacob writing in MD reported tattoo aficionados who appreciate the creative license behind professional inking can now take solace in the potential health benefits of tattoos.

Researchers have found that getting tattoos could strengthen the immune system, helping fight common infections.

According to recently reported statistics, approximately 14% of Americans have at least one tattoo and spend nearly $1.65 billion annually on getting inked.

Typically the common associations between tattoos and any medical report have been regarding allergic reactions or skin infections. And, more seriously, healthcare professionals had found contaminated tattooing equipment could transfer blood borne diseases like tetanus and hepatitis B and C.

However, a recent study published in the American Journal of Human Biology indicated that the immune-boosting effect increases with multiple tattoos.

Christopher Lynn, PhD, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, and team studied 29 individuals between 18-47 years old who were receiving tattoos at one of three tattoo studies in Leeds and Tuscaloosa, AL, between May-December, 2012.

The researchers collected the individuals’ saliva samples before and after the tattooing procedures to measure levels of immunoglobulin A – the antibody primed for first line of defense against common infections.

The study also assessed information regarding the total number of tattoos for each participant, lifetime hours spent receiving tattoos, etc.

The team was not surprised to discover those participants who were receiving their first tattoos showed a significant reduction in their immunoglobulin A levels – ironically a response to an increase in cortisol triggered by the stress and pain often associated with getting tattoos.

Interestingly, Lynn noted that even though the first tattoo could make the individual more susceptible to catching a cold, subsequent tattoos sessions help the body adjust its immune defenses.

Comment: Interesting finding I think.

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