What causes autoimmune disease? Could it be a virus?
Scientists prove link between viral infection and autoimmune disease
Common viral infections can pave the way to autoimmune disease, Australian scientists have revealed in breakthrough research published internationally today.
David Stacey writing in medical Express reported Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti, from The University of Western Australia and the Lions Eye Institute, said the research proved a link between chronic viral infection and autoimmune disease.
“This is a very significant discovery because we now know more about the pathways that lead to disease,” Professor Degli-Esposti said.
Published in the leading journal Immunity, the Australian research found that chronic cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection could lead to the development of Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) syndrome.
Comment: We’ve long suspected it. Now there may be proof.
Can that surgical implant cause a deadly problem? Next…
Study Links Allergy To Metal Implants To Skin Cancer.
Robert Preidt writing in Healthday reported on new research that links allergic reactions to metal implants to a form of skin cancer. In a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the research team from Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital profiled a case study of a woman with a nickel allergy who developed a “rare form of skin cancer called Marjolin’s ulcer” at the site where a rod made partially of nickel had been inserted to stabilize an ankle fracture. The group then performed a mouse study to confirm that “chronic skin inflammation caused by continuous skin contact with allergens can lead to tumor development.”
Comment: Think twice before you allow a metal implant in your body.
Bianca Nogrady writing for Family Practice News reported individuals with inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as inflammatory arthritis, vasculitis, and connective tissue diseases, have a threefold increase in the risk of venous thromboembolism, compared with the general population, according to a meta-analysis. The meta-analysis of 25 studies – 10 of which included patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – found those with RA were more than twice as likely to develop deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism, compared with age- and sex-matched individuals who had other comorbidities such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease/coronary artery disease, and malignancy.
Comment: As if having one of these diseases wasn’t enough…
Writing for the Upshot column in the New York Times, Austin Frakt, a health economist with several governmental and academic affiliations, writes about the placebo effect, illustrating the strong mind-body connection and the ability for fake treatments to actually heal sometimes. Frakt, who blogs at The Incidental Economist, uses his own experience about the placebo effect in the treatment of his kidney stone last year, noting that “within seconds, the pain from my kidney stone subsided. But, in fact, I had already begun to feel significant relief from the intravenous fluids alone — just saline.” He writes that “given the strength and ubiquity of placebo effects, many physicians prescribe them.”
Comment: As a research institution, it is often difficult for us to recruit patients into placebo controlled studies. The interesting fact is that in arthritis clinical trials there can be a placebo response of 40%. That’s pretty significant.
Got a tablet computer… better watch out for this problem… next
Typing on a Tablet Can Put a Strain on Your Shoulders
Ann Lukits writing in the Wall Street Journal reported using touch-screen keyboards on tablet computers for long periods of time could lead to chronic shoulder problems, suggests a study in the November issue of Applied Ergonomics that compared the musculoskeletal impact of three types of keyboards.
The small study found touch screen, or virtual, keyboards, which lack a feedback mechanism indicating a key has been pressed, require less typing force and finger-muscle activity than conventional keyboards. But tablet users must keep their fingers hovering above the keyboard to avoid accidentally activating the keys. That can lead to prolonged static loading in the shoulders, a form of muscle exertion caused by not moving, the study suggests. This study comes from Northern Illinois University.
Comment: Another casualty coming from the digital age. Let’s go back to pen and paper.
A method to get your biologic without an infusion or giving yourself a shot?… maybe
Needle-Coated Capsules May Be Ideal For Administration of Biologics.
Clifford Fram writing in Rheumatology Update reported that according to research published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, “Researchers are making progress with a needle-coated capsule they believe could be ideal for the administration of biologics.” To date, researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology “have used their invention to deliver insulin in pigs, finding no harmful side effects as the capsule passes through the digestive system and showing that it delivers insulin more efficiently than traditional injections.” One of the researchers said, “This could be a way that the patient can circumvent the need to have an infusion or subcutaneous administration of a drug.
Comment: Just what the doctor ordered. A treatment without shots.
Here’s something you can do to improve your chances of a good outcome after hip replacement…
Physical therapy before joint replacement surgery reduces need for postoperative care by nearly 30 percent.
News-Medical.Net reported in News-Medical.Net…Physical therapy after total hip (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is standard care for all patients. A new study, appearing in the October 1 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery (JBJS), also found that physical therapy before joint replacement surgery, or “prehabilitation,” can diminish the need for postoperative care by nearly 30 percent, saving an average of $1,215 per patient in skilled nursing facility, home health agency or other postoperative care.
Comment: This appears to be the standard of care in many places already.
Pioneering simple new technique to re-grow damaged cartilage
Jo Willey writing in the UK Express reported researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Centre in the US, have used a combination of small molecules to generate mouse cells that can form bone and cartilage.
They say the new method could allow them to re-grow broken bones and mend cartilage damage to back discs and joints.
It would revolutionize treatment for the condition because it would not have the side effects of many of the current drug-based treatments for the condition.
The research team, led by Dr. Naoki Nakayama, created special stem cells known as pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryos.
This type of stem cell has the ability to become any cell type in the body.
Comment: I’ve talked about these types of cells before and this research looks good. Doesn’t seem to be available in the immediate future though.