Wow… a new development that may help erase osteoarthritis… next
Unique Gel Combats Inflammation
Jessa Gamble writing for the Atlantic reported researchers have created a gel that can attach to inflammation sites and slowly deliver drugs to combat a wide variety of ailments—ulcerative colitis, arthritis and mucositis, to name a few. Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response, bringing extra blood to an injured area, but in cases of chronic inflammation, the heat, pain, and swelling become a problem. Developed at the Laboratory for Accelerated Medical Innovation at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the hydrogel—a solid material with high water content—can carry a combination of drugs, and matches its drug release to the level of inflammation around it.
When the gel is injected into the joint of an arthritis patient, for example, it will only release its anti-inflammatory payload when the patient is experiencing a flare, a spike in pain and swelling. When it encounters healthy tissue, it stays intact and does not release its payload.
“There are lots of enzymes present in inflammation that can degrade the gel,” explains Jeff Karp, the principal investigator. That breakdown of the gel releases the drug it carries.
Sara Freeman writing in Rheumatology news reported on a study that showed that persistent knee pain is in important predictor of structural joint damage and could potentially be used to predict knee osteoarthritis earlier according to Dutch research reported at the World Congress on Osteoarthritis. The analysis found that women participating in the Rotterdam study who had knee pain on most days of the preceding month were more than 4 times more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis within 5 years on MRI than were those without frequent knee pain.
New Treatment Shows Promise for Crippling Knee Arthritis
Alan Mozes writing for Healthday reported on a small study that demonstrated that just one injection of stem cells can reduce pain and inflammation.
The idea is experimental: Extract stem cells from a patient’s own body fat — cells known for their ability to differentiate and perform any number of regenerative functions — and inject them directly into the damaged knee joint.
To explore the potential of stem cell therapy, the study authors focused on 18 French and German men and women, aged 50 to 75, all of whom had struggled with severe knee osteoarthritis for at least a year before joining the study.
Between April 2012 and December 2013, all of the patients first underwent liposuction to extract fat-derived samples of a specific type of stem cell. The researchers noted that these particular stem cells have been shown to have immune-boosting and anti-scarring properties, as well as the ability to protect against cell “stress” and death.
A third of the patients received a single “low-dose” injection of their own stem cells directly into their knee. Another third received a “medium-dose” injection, involving a little more than four times the amount of stem cells, while the remaining group received a “high-dose” injection packed with roughly five times as many stem cells as the medium-dose group.
After six months, the study team found that all three groups showed improvements in terms of pain, function and mobility.
However, only those in the low-dose group were determined to have “statistically significant” improvements in terms of both knee pain and function recovery.
Comment: this data is in keeping with other studies.
An over the counter preparation that could be life-threatening… next
FDA warns OTC antacids with aspirin can cause stomach or intestinal bleeding
Lydia Wheeler writing in The Hill reported that the Food and Drug Administration “is warning consumers to beware of over-the-counter drugs that contain both an antacid and aspirin.” According to the agency, these products “can cause stomach or intestinal bleeding.” Although rare, the FDA says it has identified eight cases of serious bleeding since 2009.
Comment: Not a big surprise here. In the old days when we used high doses of aspirin, people would get bleeding ulcers frequently.
Running Barefoot May Protect Against Some Musculoskeletal Injuries
Dr. Lara Pullen writing in enews rheum reported on a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. “We aren’t seeing more musculoskeletal injuries in barefoot runners,” explains Dr. Altman-Singles, one of the authors, in an interview. “If anything, we are seeing fewer of certain types of musculoskeletal injuries.”
The researchers examined the differences in injuries between habitually barefoot and habitually shod runners. They categorized participants as barefoot runners if individuals spent at least 50% of their running time barefoot. Barefoot runners were allowed to run in minimalist footwear for the balance of their running time. In many cases, barefoot runners had experienced injuries, such as fasciitis and iliotibial band syndrome, prior to switching to barefoot running.
The researchers also noted that plantar fasciitis was more common in the shod group than the barefoot group. Additionally, shod runners experienced more patellofemoral pain syndrome and ITBS than did barefoot runners. Dr. Altman-Singles describes this difference as huge. Although barefoot running may have offered some protection against plantar fasciitis, barefoot runners had a greater number of Achilles or calf and posterior tibialis strains when compared with shod runners.