Acetaminophen Dulls Brain Processing

Popular pain killer… it doesn’t just dull pain… it may dull the brain too… next

Acetaminophen Dulls Brain Processing

Reported in bottom Line Personal, Tylenol dulls “evaluative processing”—your ability to notice something out of place (i.e., incorrect) in routine activities that you perform on “autopilot.”

Researchers at The University of Toronto gave 30 men and women a placebo, and another group of 30 1,000 mg of acetaminophen, which is what you’d get if you took two extra-strength Tylenol. The researchers hooked up the participants’ brains to EEG machines and gave them a fast-paced computer task designed to mimic the kind of autopilot we normally lapse into when doing routine or repetitive tasks.

Compared with the group that didn’t take the drug, the acetaminophen group failed to notice deliberate errors that were part of the computer task…and showed less activity in a part of the brain that normally lights up when you realize that you’ve made a mistake. In other words, the drug not only made them less aware of errors but reduced their ability to evaluate their actions…to realize when they’re off their game.

This skill is important. According to study author Dan Randles, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the university, “Sometimes you need to interrupt your normal processes or they’ll lead to a mistake. When you’re talking to a friend while crossing the street, for example, you should be ready to react to an erratic driver.”

More research is planned to investigate implications raised by this study, including whether acetaminophen also causes people’s minds to wander and to actually make more mistakes—not just fail to notice them.

Comment: Now that’s interesting!

Can marijuana be useful for arthritis? Many so-called experts Say no… but new research says yes…next

Study: Cannabis Fights Arthritis-Related Cartilage Loss

Emily Gray Brocious writing in Extract reported a study published recently in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health shows that synthetic cannabinoid treatment reduces osteoarthritis-related cartilage breakdown, as reported by The Weed Blog.

The findings align with years of anecdotal evidence suggesting cannabis may fight osteoarthritis-related cartilage breakdown as well as treating pain and discomfort that typically accompany the degenerative joint disease.

Due to marijuana’s analgesic (pain relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties, it makes logical sense that the drug would act as an effective treatment option for osteoarthritis patients.

The most recent study, conducted by researchers at The Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University in China’s Hunan province, provides scientific evidence to support “a novel mechanism by which cannabinoids may prevent cartilage breakdown in OA (osteoarthritis).”

Comment: there it is. You decide.

A deadly complication related to psoriasis… next

Does Psoriasis Increase Risk of Abdominal Aneurysm?

Jack Cush writing in Rheum Now reported Danish researchers studied a cohort of 59,423 mild psoriasis and 11,566 severe psoriasis patients over a 14 year period. They found 240 and 50 cases of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), respectively.

When compared to the general population, the adjusted incidence rate ratios for AAA were increased in mild psoriasis and in severe psoriasis.

Comment: Disturbing and a caution for patients with psoriasis.

Shingles vaccine… when to give it… a conundrum

Expert advice about shingles vaccine in rheumatoid arthritis

Bruca Jancin writing in Rheumatology News reported on a lecture given by Dr. John Cush at the Winter Rheumatology Symposium. While the recommendation is against giving zoster vaccine to patients on biologics, Dr. Cush did a survey of more than 200 patients inadvertently given the vaccine while on biologics. Not one case of shingles occurred. A study conducted in Alabama of 633 patients on biologics given inadvertent zoster vaccine also failed to show an increase in shingles risk and actually showed a 39% reduction in shingles risk.

Comment: Reassuring news that shingles vaccine, even though it is live, is not the end of the world if given to patients on biologic therapy. That being said, I still think that a 4 week waiting period before vaccination while holding a biologic is prudent.

Uric acid lowering therapy is important for patients with symptomatic gout. However, for certain groups there is a risk of treatment… next

HLA-B*5801 Testing Needed In Asians And Blacks With Gout

Dr. Jack Cush in Rheum Now reported on a study by Choi and colleagues who analyzed US hospitalizations (2009–2013) to assess the frequency and racial distribution of patients hospitalized with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) related to the use of urate-lowering (ULT) therapy (predominantly allopurinol). They found 606 hospitalizations while receiving ULT. There was an overrepresentation of Asians (27%) and Blacks (26%), and an underrepresentation of Whites (29%) and Hispanics (% too low to report).

These SJS/TEN events were 12 time more frequent in Asians, and 5 times more frequent in Blacks when compared to Whites (reference group).

The HLA-B*5801 allele has been strongly linked with the allopurinol hypersensitivity syndrome and has been found in higher frequency in certain populations, especially Koreans, Japanese, Thai and Han Chinese – and in some Europeans. This study demonstrates the potential use of HLA-B*5801 in U.S. Asians and Blacks.

Comment: Really important info to know when treating certain racial groups with gout.

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