Lithium OA Treatment

Can a drug used for psychiatric problems really help arthritis?. The answer next.

Lithium Shows Promise as Arthritis Treatment: Study

Charlotte Libov writing for Newsmax Health reported that lithium, a drug widely used to treat mental illness, may have potential to treat osteoarthritis, a new study shows.

Researchers in the UK and New Zealand tested the effect of lithium chloride on animal cartilage samples exposed to inflammatory molecules to mimic the effects of arthritis and then treated the tissue with lithium chloride.

The study showed that the commonly used drug prevented the degradation and loss of mechanical integrity of cartilage in arthritic joints.

“While we’re still at an early stage in researching lithium’s effects on cartilage and its suitability as a treatment, the possibility that an already widely available pharmaceutical could slow the progress of osteoarthritis is a significant step forward,” said Professor Martin Knight, co-author of the study, which is published in the Journal for Orthopaedic Research.

Comment: Too soon to tell but interesting anyway.


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Frequent Smartphone Use Linked To Impaired Hand Function

Put down that smart phone… here’s why


More Frequent Smartphone Use May Be Linked To Impaired Hand Function, Pinch Strength.

Pauline Anderson writing in Medscape reported that a study indicates that “university students who most frequently use a smartphone are more likely to have an enlarged median nerve and to have impaired hand function and pinch strength compared with those who” do not use their smartphones as much. The findings were published in Muscle & Nerve.


Comment: I imagine this won’t have any effect on smart phone user behavior.


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Ultrasound May Predict Flare In Patients With RA

A test that predicts RA flares… next

Tenosynovitis Detected By High-power Ultrasound May Accurately Predict Chance Of Disease Flare In Patients With RA Who Are In Clinical Remission.

Reported in Rheumatology News, research indicates that “tenosynovitis detected by high-power ultrasound accurately predicted the chance of a disease flare in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were in clinical remission.” Individuals “who had tenosynotivis as detected by power Doppler ultrasound were almost 5 times more likely to have a flare requiring an acceleration of treatment within 6 months, Dr. Emanuela Bellis reported at the annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism.”


Comment: Diagnostic ultrasound is rapidly becoming the rheumatologists’ stethoscope.


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Low Birth Weight AS

An interesting risk factor for ankylosing spondylitis… next

Low Birth Weight, Childhood Infections May Be Associated With Later Development Of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Nancy Walsh writing for MedPage Today reported that research indicated that “low birth weight and childhood infections were associated with the later development of ankylosing spondylitis.” The study also indicated that “individuals who were diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis more often had older siblings, which is often considered a proxy for greater exposure to childhood infections…said” Ulf Lindstrom, PhD, at “a press conference at the annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism.”

Comment: Very interesting

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Prednisone May Contribute To Herpes Zoster In Patients With RA

This drug increases the risk of shingles…

Prednisone May Contribute To Herpes Zoster Risk In Patients With RA.

Nancy Walsh writing in MedPage Today reported that research suggests that individuals “with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have an elevated risk for herpes zoster, particularly with increasing age, but the only immunomodulating medication that contributes to the risk is prednisone.”

The findings were published in Arthritis Care and Research.


Comment: Interesting finding.

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CRP In Patients With Knee OA

A blood test that predicts the prognosis for knee osteoarthritis… next


CRP May Be Associated With Presence, Progression Of Bone Marrow Lesions In Patients With Knee OA.

Susan London writing in Rheumatology News reported, “C-reactive protein is associated with the presence and progression of bone marrow lesions in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee [knee OA], according to data from a cohort study of 192 patients…reported at the World Congress on Osteoarthritis.” The study found that “as patients’ baseline CRP quartile increased, so did their odds of having bone marrow lesions (odds ratio, 1.45) and worsening of those lesions during follow-up (odds ratio, 1.56).”


Comment: Interesting and I’d like to know more.


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Bariatric Surgery RA

A surprising finding after bariatric surgery… next

Significant Weight Loss After Bariatric Surgery May Be Linked To Improved Disease Control, Lower Markers Of Inflammation In Patients With RA.

Frieda Wiley writing in MedPage Today reported that research published in Arthritis Care and Research indicated that “significant weight loss” after “bariatric surgery was associated with improved disease control, lower markers of inflammation, and a decrease in the need for medication among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).” Investigators found that one “year after the surgery, patients’ average weight loss was 41 kg, which was a mean loss of 70% excess weight (P<0.001), and RA disease activity had significantly improved.”

Comment: Fat cells produce cytokines, inflammation drivers. Removal of fat takes these cytokines away.

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Work Disability Arthritis

How much does having arthritis affect the ability to work? More than you think… next

Study Examines Impact Of Arthritis, Multiple Chronic Conditions On People’s Lives.

Robert Preidt writing in Healthday reported that a study in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report suggests that “having a number of chronic health conditions was linked to work disability, significant mental distress, and limitations on social activities,” with such negative effects being “even greater if one of the chronic conditions was arthritis.” In fact, “among adults with one chronic condition, those with arthritis were much more likely than those without arthritis to have work disability (16 percent versus nine percent), according to Jin Qin and colleagues at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Comment: This pretty much is in keeping with the data as we know it. Arthritis is not benign.

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Gout May Be Linked To Lower Risk Of Dementia.

Is there an advantage to having gout? Maybe… next

Gout May Be Linked To Lower Risk Of Dementia.

Reported in Healio, this item. A study from Taiwan reported that individuals “with gout may have a lower risk for developing dementia.” The findings were published in Arthritis Research & Therapy.


Comment: So… take your pick.


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Knee Joint Distraction May Help Patients With OA Avoid Knee Prosthesis

Another method for treating knee osteoarthritis…next

Knee Joint Distraction May Help Some Patients With Osteoarthritis Avoid The Need For Knee Prosthesis.

Sara Freeman writing in Rheumatology News reported that research suggests that “knee joint distraction – a method of relieving mechanical stress on the joint by temporarily pinning it – could help some patients with osteoarthritis avoid the need for a knee prosthesis.” The findings were presented at the European Congress of Rheumatology.


Comment: Distraction works. That’s why we use an unloader brace after our stem cell knee procedures

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