Health and Fitness

Strength Training, Self-Management Improve Outcomes For Knee Osteoarthritis

Researchers participating in the Multidimensional Intervention for Early Osteoarthritis of the Knee (Knee Study) determined that physically inactive, middle-aged people with symptomatic osteoarthritis benefitted equally from strength training regimens, self-management programs, or a combination of the two. Details of this study are available in the January 2010 issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and the second leading cause of disability in the United States. Currently OA is the most prevalent chronic condition among women, afflicting 35-45% of women by the age of 65. A number of studies have compared strength training protocols with self-management programs in older patient populations, but few have examined the potential benefit of using both approaches in conjunction. "We hypothesized that combining the 2 treatments might enhance the outcomes, " said Patrick McKnight, lead author of the Knee Study.

Running Shoes May Cause Damage To Knees, Hips And Ankles: Greater Stresses On Joints Than Running Barefoot Or Walking In High-Heeled Shoes Observed

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) accounts for more disability in the elderly than any other disease. Running, although it has proven cardiovascular and other health benefits, can increase stresses on the joints of the leg. In a study published in the December 2009 issue of PM&R: The journal of injury, function and rehabilitation, researchers compared the effects on knee, hip and ankle joint motions of running barefoot versus running in modern running shoes. They concluded that running shoes exerted more stress on these joints compared to running barefoot or walking in high-heeled shoes. Sixty-eight healthy young adult runners (37 women), who run in typical, currently available running shoes, were selected from the general population. None had any history of musculoskeletal injury and each ran at least 15 miles per week. A running shoe, selected for its neutral classification and design characteristics typical of most running footwear, was provided to all runners. Using a treadmill and a motion analysis system, each subject was observed running barefoot and with shoes.

Axis-Shield And Bio-Rad Announce Launch Of New Anti-CCP Test For Bio-Rad's BioPlex 2200 System

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO) and (NYSE: BIO.B), a multinational manufacturer and distributor of life science research and clinical diagnostics products, and Axis-Shield plc (LSE: ASD) (OSE: ASD), an international in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) company, announced the launch of Bio-Rad's BioPlex® 2200 Anti-CCP test for the early detection of rheumatoid arthritis. The assay, which will run on Bio-Rad's BioPlex® 2200 system, measures anti-CCP (anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies), a novel marker that has been shown to have superior specificity in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. The BioPlex 2200 Anti-CCP kit is based on Axis-Shield's proprietary anti-CCP technology. The assay is available for sale in certain countries outside the U.S. "The anti-CCP testing market is one of the fastest growing markets in autoimmune diagnostics, " said John Goetz, Bio-Rad Vice President and Group Manager of Clinical Diagnostics. "The addition of this assay will add significantly to our growing menu of autoimmune tests on the BioPlex 2200 system.

Don't Let Arthritis Put The Kibosh On All Exercise It Hurts More When You Stop

Achy knees and joints caused by arthritis are not reasons to stop exercising. Regular, modest exercise improves joint stability and strengthens muscles, according to the December issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource. Exercise also improves mood, sleep, energy levels and day-to-day functioning. Best of all, people with arthritis who exercise regularly report less pain. When a person avoids exercise, joints become less mobile and the surrounding muscles shrink, causing increased fatigue and pain. A physical therapist or personal trainer can tailor exercise programs to health conditions and fitness levels. The key is to choose safe, appropriate activities and to take it slowly at first. A variety of activities can be safe and helpful for people with arthritis, including: -- Range-of-motion and flexibility exercises: Activities such as yoga and tai chi increase joint mobility. Doing range-of-motion exercises in the evening can reduce joint stiffness the next morning. -- Low-impact aerobics: Aerobic exercise improves overall fitness and endurance as well as muscle function and joint stability.

Psoriasis: Effects Don't Always Stop With The Skin

Psoriasis, a chronic disease that causes red, raised patches of skin, is increasingly seen as a systemic disease with links to arthritis and cardiovascular disease. The December issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource provides an overview of this sometimes embarrassing condition, what's known about it and how it's treated. Highlights of the overview include: -- Symptoms: Patches of thick, red skin covered with silvery, flaky scales commonly appear on the elbows and knees, but can appear anywhere on the body. They result from skin cells on overdrive, reproducing much faster than normal. Doctors aren't sure why this overproduction occurs, although genetic and environmental factors likely play roles. Psoriasis symptoms come and go and flare in response to triggers that can include infections, some medications, alcohol, smoking, stress, sunburn, skin irritation or injury. -- A systemic illness: Doctors are finding that psoriasis is more than a skin disorder. About one in four people with psoriasis develop a form of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints.

The Function Of The Protein CD20

Antibodies directed against the protein CD20, which is expressed by immune cells known as B cells, are used to treat B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis. Despite this, the function of CD20 has not been determined. Now, a team of researchers led by RenГ van Lier, at the Academic Medical Center, The Netherlands, has determined that CD20 has a nonredundant role in generating optimal B cell immune responses by analyzing a patient lacking the protein. The patient was referred to the Academic Medical Center at four years of age, with a history of intermittent respiratory infections and recurrent bronchopneumonia. Detailed analysis of immune cells from the patient revealed that the B cells lacked CD20 expression due to a mutation in the CD20 gene. These CD20-deficient B cells failed to respond normally to certain stimuli in vitro, specifically those known as T-independent antigens. Further, vaccination of the patient with a T-independent antigen led to a markedly impaired B cell response.

ChemoCentryx Initiates Phase 2 Clinical Trial Of CCX354 For The Treatment Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

ChemoCentryx, Inc. announced that it has begun enrolling patients in a Phase 2 clinical trial of CCX354, an orally-bioavailable, novel, small molecule drug designed to specifically target the CCR1 chemokine receptor for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). CCX354 is a highly potent and selective antagonist of CCR1, a chemokine receptor that drives the recruitment of immune cells, such as monocytes and macrophages, associated with the inflammation underlying certain autoimmune diseases, including RA. By selectively blocking the CCR1 receptor, CCX354 is designed to reduce the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the joints of RA patients and inhibiting the subsequent joint destruction while minimizing the potential for off-target effects, thus providing a wider therapeutic window than currently approved therapies. The high potency and selectivity of the molecule are expected to provide continuous receptor coverage throughout the dosing period which is thought to be critical for efficacy.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Want Pain-Free Shopping Days At Christmas

A survey of women in the United Kingdom (U.K.) reveals that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has a severe emotional and physical impact on people living with the disease and their families. Feelings of detachment and isolation from those closest to them due to RA are especially prevalent at Christmas, which should be one of the happiest times of the year. The survey findings of 300 women with RA living in the U.K. suggest that 33% feel the disease impacts on their enjoyment of family events like Christmas, which increases to 39% for women with moderate RA. The survey, sponsored by biopharmaceutical company UCB, highlights that more than a quarter (26%) of women with RA find it always more painful to attend parties and celebrations or have stopped attending altogether; this increases to 67% for women with severe RA. Additionally, RA is impacting on personal relations, with more than a quarter of women believing the condition affects their closest relationships for the worse, and 61% feeling that friends and family do not understand their pain.

Combining Celebrex With Low-Dose Aspirin May Reduce Protection From Heart Attack And Stroke, Study Suggests

Millions of Americans take Celebrex for arthritis or other pain. Many, if they are middle-aged or older, also take a low-dose aspirin tablet daily to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Yet they may be getting little protection, because Celebrex keeps the aspirin from doing its job effectively, a new study suggests. In laboratory studies, University of Michigan researchers found that several coxibs, the drug class to which Celebrex belongs, interfere with aspirin's ability to discourage blood clots, if the aspirin is taken in low doses. Celebrex, also known as celecoxib, is the only coxib currently on the market. The results appear online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Doctors frequently advise daily low-dose aspirin (81 mg) for patients who have heart conditions, notably a serious form of angina known as unstable angina, or for patients who are at risk of second heart attacks. Aspirin is well-known for its ability to discourage formation of blood clots that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

New Report Reveals Inequality Of Patient Access Across Europe To Innovative Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis

European patients still face inequalities in access to the majority of innovative biologics treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Speed and levels of access depend on where patients live, a report published today. The proportion of patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis who are treated with biologics can range from 30% in Norway to less than 1% in Bulgaria. "It is particularly appropriate that this report is published today, on World Arthritis Day", commented Brian Ager, Director General of EFPIA, the Federation of the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Europe. "It helps shed light on the reasons why patients face these inequalities in access to RA treatments. We hope it will stimulate discussions on how we achieve the optimal use of new technologies and treatment for all patients." The report shows that new treatments, despite being shown to be extremely effective, are not used to their full potential. "There are many factors explaining differences in uptake of innovative treatments, " said Dr.

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