Electricity… it’s not just for breakfast anymore… next
NIH, pharmaceutical companies fund research on “electroceuticals”
Sharon Begley writing in the Boston Globe reported that scientists across the world “are exploring the potential of devices dubbed electroceuticals to treat conditions from heart failure and asthma to diabetes, incontinence, and arthritis.” The first of the new class of devices, “to treat obesity, reached the market this year, and the US government and drug companies are pouring tens of millions of dollars into further research.” This fall, the National Institutes of Health will announce “the first funding from its $248 million Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions, or SPARC, program.”
Comment: Looks like we’ve come full circle. Electricity has been touted for its healing powers since the days of the medicine show charlatans.
Is there a particular area that seems to be involved early in patients with rheumatoid arthritis… and I’m not talking about the usual places…
Shoulder Injury Happens Earlier Than Expected in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Bill Schu writing for MD reported that study in Arthritis Research & Therapy found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experience shoulder pain early in the course of the disease, suggesting that screening of shoulder function should become a larger focus for maintenance and treatment of RA.
Comment: This is surprising because rheumatoid arthritis is a small joint disease early on.
The mind in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is a power thing… next
Depression and Anxiety Predict Treatment Response and Health Outcomes in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Daniela Samedo writing in rheumatoid Arthritis News reported depression and anxiety are highly prevalent RA patients, with a recent meta-analysis reporting a 16.8% prevalence of depression, diagnosed via clinical interview. There is evidence to suggest a downstream relationship between distress and disease outcomes, with depression increasing pain and disease activity and decreasing short- and long-term treatment efficacy in RA.
Findings from a recent study published in the journal Rheumatology revealed that baseline and persistent symptoms of depression/anxiety predict several subjective and objective rheumatological outcome measures.
To examine the impact of symptoms of depression/anxiety on treatment response, long-term disease activity and physical disability in RA, Faith Matcham and colleagues from the Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London in the United Kingdom and colleagues, performed an analysis of an existing randomized controlled trial in patients with early RA. Results revealed that in a population of 379 patients, early RA baseline depression/anxiety symptoms were associated with increased disease activity.
Cholesterol lowering drugs reduce mortality in rheumatoid arthritis? The answer next.
Statins lower mortality in rheumatoid arthritis patients
Amy Karon writing in rheumatology News reported that a study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases showed that there was a 21% reduced risk of dying in rheumatoid arthritis patients who were on statin therapy. The study was conducted in the United Kingdom using a general practice medical database.
Arthritis drug salsalate ‘may help treat Alzheimer’s’
Salsalate was found to inhibit a chemical process called tau acetylation
An “old” drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis may offer new hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, say scientists.
von Radowitz writing in the Belfast Telegraph reported in laboratory mice the anti-inflammatory drug, salsalate, prevented damage to the brain associated with the diseases and reversed memory loss.
The early research points towards an as-yet untried treatment strategy that could be effective in combating the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s, it is claimed.
One of the hallmarks of dementia is the formation of so-called tau tangles, toxic twisted knots of protein within nerve cells.
Salsalate was found to inhibit a chemical process called tau acetylation that appears to drive tangle generation.
The drug was tested on genetically engineered mice with frontotemporial dementia (FTD), a form of dementia affecting the frontal lobes of the brain. Tau tangles are a feature of both this disease and Alzheimer’s.
Dr Li Gan, from the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease in San Francisco, US, who co-led the research, said: “We identified for the first time a pharmacological approach that reverses all aspects of tau toxicity.
Comment: salsalate is an old old drug, a salicylate we used to use for its anti-inflammatory effects. Very Interesting.
As if patients with ankylosing spondylitis didn’t have enough to worry about…
Patients with Ankylosing spondylitis have increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Haroon and colleagues from the University of Toronto compared the relative risk of heart attack and stroke between 21,473 patients with ankylosing spondylitis and 86,606 age and gender matched control patients. They found that the incidence of both disorders was increased in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Risk factors included male gender, age, lower income, dementia, chronic kidney disease, and peripheral vascular disease. The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Reported in CMI (Healthcare Medicine Institute), acupuncture combined with herbs is effective for the relief of knee osteoarthritis pain. Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) researchers conducted a controlled trial and concluded that acupuncture with herbs is both safe and effective. No harmful side effects resulted from the treatment regimen and patients demonstrated significant improvements. The researchers document significant reductions in knee pain with concomitant joint function improvement.
The researchers conducted a highly controlled experiment wherein acupuncture point prescriptions were standardized to a set of specific acupuncture points with predetermined manual acupuncture stimulation procedures. Two acupuncture protocols were compared between treatment groups. One group received acupuncture with herbs in what was termed the Shi treatment procedure. The other protocol of care employed only a standard set of acupuncture points without the use of herbal medicine.
The Shi acupuncture with herbs technique outperformed the acupuncture only group.
Comment: While the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating osteoarthritis remains controversial, more and more studies support its use since the side effect profile is so low.
Breana Noble writing in Newsmax reported holy basil may be able to help with the joint pain.
A treatment from the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, holy basil (Ocimum basilicum) – also known as tulsi, meaning “The Incomparable One” – is one of the most sacred herbs in the tradition.
An adaptogen, it helps the body to work at its prime level even while under large amounts of stress by regulating the creation of stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline, the magazine explained.
It contains high amounts of anti-inflammatory elements and antioxidants, helpful in fighting joint pain, Natural News reported.
Roger Dobson writing for the Daily Mail reported bombarding blood vessels with tiny gel balls could help ease painful arthritic joints.
Abnormal blood vessels can form around injured joints. These, in turn, are thought to cause the chronic pain linked to osteoarthritis, stiff shoulders and tendon injuries.
Now scientists have discovered a treatment where blocking the abnormal vessels dramatically reduces pain in patients with these conditions.
The new therapy, known as transcatheter arterial embolisation, is based on the theory that the pain is linked to new blood vessels forming around the joint as part of the body’s natural repair process, rather than the cartilage damage itself.
Sometimes in inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, this process gets out of control, causing blood vessels to grow where they’re not needed.
Tiny spheres, which are a thousandth of an inch in diameter and made of a special gel, are inserted using a thin tube fed through the main artery in the groin to the problem area, such as the knee.
Once in place, these microspheres are released, blocking the blood supply to the neighboring nerves, which reduces pain signals. As the blood vessels and nerves die, they and the microspheres are absorbed by the body.
Animal studies have shown the treatment reduces inflammation and pain.
Comment: With all due respects to the National Football League, I term this treatment “inflategate.”
What the surgical establishment doesn’t want you to know about minimally invasive carpal tunnel release!
Thread carpal tunnel release is as effective as open surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome and surgery can mean weeks of recovery and physical therapy. Why is that? It’s because carpal tunnel surgery hasn’t changed in more than 30 years. Sure, endoscopic release – using a telescope- has been employed but the fact of the matter is that only a few surgeons in the entire world are skilled enough to accomplish this without any side effects and complications.
The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to outcomes with carpal tunnel surgery. So… here’s the question…
Do you want to be a statistic?
The search has been to find ways to treat this condition without subjecting the patient to surgery and the attendant risks of general anesthesia.
A recent technological advance has arrived. It has been shown in carefully performed cadaver studies to provide the exact release of the transverse carpal ligament as open surgery but without many of the potential complications.
The Guo thread carpal tunnel release uses a metal impregnated thread and ultrasound guidance to create a gentle, precise cut. Local anesthetic only is used. Recovery time is shortened and potential complications, while they can occur as with any invasive procedure, are minimized.
So you might be asking… is this technique 100 % effective. And the answer is quite simply no. Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome have problems at various stages. Some early and some late. Late patients regardless of what procedure they have do not do as well as patients who are seen earlier. However, those patients seen at the same point in time do better with miniamlly invasive thread carpal tunnel release than those patients who undergo either endoscope or open procedures.
And, for no apparent reason, some people may not get back to 100%. That being said, thread carpal tunnel release is safer than and just as effective as open carpal tunnel surgery.