A commonly used over the counter drug causes dementia… next
Anticholinergic Medications May Be Linked To Increased Dementia Risk
Mandy Oaklander writing in Time reported researchers “analyzed already existing data from 451 people around ages 70-75 who had normal brains,” then “examined the results of memory tests, MRI brain scans and other neuroimaging data – all while paying particular attention to people who said they took anticholinergic” medications. Seniors “who regularly took at least one anticholinergic drug- sold over the counter and by prescription as sleep aids and for chronic diseases including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease according to Ben Tinker of CNN- showed poorer cognition, lower brain volumes and less glucose metabolism in the whole brain and the temporal lobe” than seniors who did not. The study was published online in JAMA Neurology.
Comment: Wow. The list of what we can take that doesn’t cause bad side effects is shrinking fast.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s another complication of taking bisphosphonate drugs for osteoporosis… next
Do Bisphosphonates Increase Risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Lara Pullen writing in the Rheumatologist reported increasingly, postmenopausal women are prescribed bisphosphonates in an effort to prevent osteoporotic fractures. The increased prevalence of bisphosphonate use likely reflects both demographic trends toward an older female population, as well as concerns about the safety of an alternative treatment for osteoporosis: hormone replacement therapy.
Unfortunately, bisphosphonates are not without risk. In 2008, the FDA issued an alert that highlighted the association between oral bisphosphonates and incapacitating bone, joint and/or musculoskeletal pain. In 2015, the FDA issued yet another alert: warning that the use of bisphosphonates is associated with an increased risk for developing osteonecrosis of the jaw. Researchers have also noted that patients taking bisphosphonates experience an increased risk for arthritis and corresponding arthralgia. Now, investigators report that postmenopausal women who use bisphosphonates are also at increased risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Comment: what a list of side effects. These drugs might be useful but be careful.
Have you ever wondered whether your food could be toxic? Many physicians doubt this but recent research suggests otherwise… like this item… next
Titanium Dioxide Additives May Boost Intestinal Inflammation
David Douglas writing in the Reuters reported mouse studies suggest that titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles, widely used as food additives and in drug formulations, may be involved in intestinal inflammation, according to Swiss researchers.
As Dr. Gerhard Rogler told Reuters Health by email, “It seems that titanium dioxide nanoparticles are not harmful for a healthy person with a normal intestinal barrier. But this may be different in an individual with impaired intestinal barrier function, such as patients with inflammatory bowel disease.”
In a paper published in Gut (like the tile of that journal), Dr. Rogler and colleagues at the University of Zurich note that IBD is increasing in many nations undergoing westernization. Among possible causes are microparticles of agents such as Ti02, which are used to improve the appearance of products including food.
The researchers go on to point out that there is increasing evidence that exposure to TiO2 “can cause adverse effects, including the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) inflammatory responses and tumor formation.”
Comment: You are what you eat. If that’s the case, then you’re probably a piece of titanium.
Do your fingers turn white in the cold…? If so, then you may have Raynaud’s phenomenon. One of the more common causes of this is medication. More about this next…
Drugs that May Induce Raynauds
Dr. Jack Cush writing in Rheum Now reported a systematic review by Khouri examined the extent drugs are capable of inducing Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP).
The authors found 12 different classes of drugs responsible for RP, with cisplatin and bleomycin having with the greatest risk, followed by beta-blockers. The Framingham heart study found beta-blocker use was the most common cause of secondary RP (34.2% of secondary RP). A 2012 meta-analysis found a prevalence of 14.7% of RP in patients receiving beta-blockers.
Other less frequently cited causes include clonidine, ergot alkaloids, bromocriptine, ADHD drugs (methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine), phentermine (for weight loss), cocaine, vinyl chlorid exposure, and interferon therapy.
Coffee… a miracle cure for… I’ll tell you next
Coffee Can Prevent Alcohol-Related Cirrhosis
Amy Jacob writing in MD reported the benefits of coffee consumption have long been questioned, but now a new group of experts have given it the thumbs up.
According to a review of studies published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, increasing coffee intake could help reduce the chances of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis.
To examine the relationship between coffee consumption and the risk of cirrhosis, a research team led by Oliver Kennedy, MD, Southampton University in Britain, analyzed nine studies involving more than 430,000 participants.
Overall, the studies included 1,990 cirrhosis patients.
The length of the studies varied, but one lasted nearly 20 years.
In eight of the nine studies analyzed, increasing coffee consumption by two cups per day was “associated with a statistically significant reduction in the risk of cirrhosis” – specifically by 44%.
Comment: coffee has been shown other studies to benefit the heart. Now this. Interesting