Posts Tagged ‘rheumatoid arthritis’

Get Sunshine and Avoid Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

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A new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives reported more rheumatoid arthritis in women in northern latitudes such as Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine and concluded that this may be a result of less sunshine in these areas which leads to a vitamin D deficiency. The researchers looked at data from the Nurses Health Study and collected residential addresses, health outcomes, and behavioral risk factors for subjects between 1988 and 2002. In the sample 461 women had rheumatoid arthritis compared to 9,220 who did not. In addition to finding more RA in the northern latitudes there was more in those who had lived there longer suggesting that long term exposure to less sunshine may be more important than recent exposure.
Although further research on the relationship of vitamin D deficiency and rheumatoid arthritis is needed, the researchers said the geographic association has also been observed for other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease.

New Approach May Halt or Reverse Rheumatoid Arthritis

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

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New research to be published in the February issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism discussed a novel way to halt or reverse rheumatoid arthritis by using am imitation of a suicide molecule that floats undetected into immune cells that are responsible for this type of arthritis. Using this approach the researchers were able to stop the disease in 75% of the study mice without any observed toxic effects as is the case with current drugs. The mechanism is that healthy immune cells usually die after attacking an invading virus or bacteria. However, in rheumatoid arthritis the immune cells do not die but live on and go rogue proliferating in the blood, building up in the joints and invading cartilage and bone.

Researchers discovered that immune cells in rheumatoid arthritis are low in a critical molecule (Bim) that cause the immune cells to self- destruct. To correct this fault they developed an imitation of this molecule (called BH2) that was injected into study mice with rheumatoid arthritis that caused the immune cells to destruct, joint swelling was reduced and bone destruction decreased. Thus, they concluded that the molecule could prevent the disease and trigger a remission in those who have it. Further research is planned to develop a more precise method of delivering the drug.

New Drug Cautiously Approved for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

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Tocilizumab, brand-named Actemra, is a new biologic drug for treating moderate to severe rheumatoid arthtritis that is not well controlled by other medications. It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and should be available for patients during the week of January 18. It is the first drug that blocks a protein called interleukin-6 (IL-6) which is overproduced in the joints of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. The drug is given once a month by intravenous infusion and is powerful and fast acting. However, there are safety concerns so it must be used cautiously. Side effects experienced by people taking it during clinical trials included elevated LDL or bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, elevated liver enzymes and gastrointestinal perforations. Thus, its use is recommended only for those who have not responded to other therapies and the FDA is requiring the manufacturer to monitor it’s long term safety. Specifically the FDA is interested in evaluating the long term effect of elevated LDL, cholesterol and blood pressure on the cardiovascular health of those on the drug. If this drug is recommended, make sure you have frequent testing by your primary health care provider.

Fish Oil and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

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Research published in Nature on October 28 and carried out by Queen Mary, University of London, and Harvard Medical School researchers showed precisely why fish oil helps conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. The research described how the body converts an ingredient found in fish oil (DHA*) into another chemical called Resolvin D2 and how this chemical reduces inflammation, a common condition in arthritis. Resolvin D2 seems to have additional value because in addition to its anti-inflammatory properties it does not suppress the immune system. This research is important because it explains how fish oil can help in different kinds of arthritis. The researchers plan to work further to see if this chemical can be used to prevent arthritis and be used for other diseases that are associated with inflammation.
*DHA (docosahexsenoic acid) is an omega 3 fatty acid. fish oil is a rich source of this.

Depression Among Those with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

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A study published in the February, 2009 issue of Arthritis Care & Research looked at the incidence of depression among patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The study involved 200 arthritis patients from 4 rheumatology clinics with 8 doctors participating. The patient visits were audio-taped and there was a second interview after the visit to assess symptoms of depression.
The researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that about 11% of the patients had moderately severe to severe depression symptoms. Only 20% of these patients discussed their depression with their rheumatologist and when they did it was most often initiated by the patient and not the doctor and the discussion was short. Based upon these preliminary findings the researchers recommended that rheumatologist screen arthritis patients for symptoms of depression.

Dr Garrett Smith, N.P., and Karon White-Gibson Interviewed on the Holistic Health Show

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

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Dr Carl O Helvie, Host of the Holistic Health Show, interviewed Dr Garrett Smith and Karon White-Gibson on arthritis last night. Dr Smith, a naturopathic physician in Tucson, Arizona, talked about the effect of nightshades on arthritis. His biography was published earlier on this site.
Mrs Karon White-Gibson is a registered nurse, author and television host who has arthritis. She talked about the natural treatments she has used. Her biography was published on the site earlier.
You can listen to the interview below. I hope you will enjoy it.

Moderate Benefits of Dynamic Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

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Researchers at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that dynamic exercise programs had moderate benefits for rheumatoid arthritis patients and recommended aerobic capacity training combined with muscle strength training as routine practice for these patients. However, more research is needed to determine the recommended length and type of exercise program, if patients need supervision, and if these programs are cost effective.
The researchers combined data from 8 studies involving 575 patients and founds that dynamic exercises are safe and have a positive effect on aerobic capacity and muscle strength for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and when performed long term have a positive effect on functional ability. However, the benefits are seen only after the intervention and programs that are water-based may help improve functioning of patients. Results were published in the Cochrane Library.

Chinese Herb Proves Better for Rheumatoid Arthritis than Prescription Drug

Friday, October 16th, 2009

logo1267406_mdA study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on August 18, 2009 reported that a Chinese herb known as thunder god improved symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis better than a prescribed medication. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health, The University of Texas in Dallas and 9 rheumatology clinics around the USA randomly assigned 121 patients with six or more painful and swollen joints to either take 60 mgm of thunder god vine root extract three times a day for 6 months or 1 gram of sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) two times a day for 6 months. All study subjects were allowed to take prednisone and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s).

A standardized measure of joint involvement was assessed on each subject.

Side effects were experienced in both groups with stomach complaints and digestive symptoms being the most common ones reported. Almost half of all participants dropped out of the study before the end but more dropped out of the sulfasalazine group than the thunder god vine group.

Of the 62 patients who completed the study 65% saw improvement in joint pain, joint functioning, and inflammation in the thunder god group compared to 36% in the sulfasalazine group.

Although thunder god has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years it is known to have a wide range of side effects ranging from diarrhea, upset stomach, and skin rashes and men may experience infertility and women may stop having menstrual periods while on it.

There is ongoing debate about the value of using this herb until more is known about it’s efficacy, side effects and interactions with other medications and herbs.

Holistic Health Show Last Night Started Arthritis Series with Dr Nathan Wei, Arthritis Expert, and Two Arthritis Sufferers, Kelly Rouba and Kirsten Mahoney

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

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My first guest last night on the Holistic Health Show hosted by Dr Carl O Helvie was Dr Nathan Wei, CEO of the Arthritis and Osteoporesis Center of Maryland who has helped more than 7,000 patients with arthritis. He is author of more than 60 peer-reviewed literatures, 500 published articles, has produced 12 videotaped presentations, presented over 120 lectures worldwide, and taught advanced courses in rheumatology. More information is available on an earlier blog or at: www.aocm.org

My second guest, Kelly Rouba, is an author, writer, emergency management professional, and spokesperson for the Arthritis National Research Foundation who was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age 2. More information is available on an earlier blog here or at: www.eadassociates.com

My last guest was Kirsten Mahoney who is a certified Life Balance Coach and founder of Insight Out Life Coaching who has arthritis and talks about her treatment. More information is available on an earlier blog or at: www.insightoutlifecoaching.com

This interview follows. You can also listen to it on itunes, podcast alley, or podcast pickle.