Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

‘Mobility shoes’ take a load off for knee osteoarthritis sufferers

In memory of my mother-in-law who had severe osteoarthritis…

From the 8 October 2013 EurekAlert

(CHICAGO) – The results of a new study by bone and joint experts at Rush University Medical Center suggest that patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who wear flat, flexible footwear, which allows natural foot mobility and provide sufficient support for the foot, had significant reduction in knee loading—the force placed upon the joint during daily activities.

Findings from the study were published in an issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

The research led by Dr. Najia Shakoor, a rheumatologist at Rush, shows that long term use of the such footwear, called “mobility shoes,” helped OA patients adapt their gait or how they walk, which improved knee loading, even when the mobility shoes were no longer worn.

In previous studies, Shakoor and colleagues from Rush found that walking barefoot as well as with ‘mobility shoes,’ which are designed to mimic barefoot mechanics, was linked to reduced knee loading compared to when walking with regular footwear worn by participants. However, the authors thought the long-term effects of the specialized footwear need further studying.

“There is much interest in biomechanical interventions, such as orthotic inserts, knee braces, and footwear that aim to improve pain and delay OA progression by decreasing impact on joints,” said Shakoor, the principal investigator of the study who is also an associate professor in the department of internal medicine at Rush. “In the present study, we expand understanding of our earlier research by evaluating the impact of the mobility footwear on gait after six months of use.”

More than 27 million Americans over the age of 25 have some form of OA, which causes painful swelling and stiffness in the hand, foot, knee or hip joints. According to existing research, doctor-diagnosed arthritis will swell to 67 million U.S. adults by 2030. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 16% of adults 45 years of age and older are burdened with symptomatic knee OA.

The Rush team recruited 16 participants with knee OA, obtaining a baseline gait with participants walking in their own shoes, mobility shoes and barefoot. Participants wore the mobility shoes for six hours each day for six days per week and patient gait was evaluated at 6, 12 and 24 weeks in all conditions.

Findings suggest that by 24 weeks, participants wearing mobility footwear saw an 18 percent reduction in knee adduction moment (KAM), which is the load on the inner or medial aspect of the knee when walking compared to baseline knee loading in their own footwear. This is where most people develop knee OA.

No significant difference in KAM was found between walking with mobility shoes and barefoot. Compared to baseline, analyses indicate an 11 percent and 10 percent reduction in KAM for OA patients walking in their own shoes and barefoot, respectively, suggesting the mobility shoes may have “re-trained” participant’s gait.

“Patients with OA who use flat, flexible footwear may experience a significant reduction in knee loading with continued use,” said Shakoor. “Our investigation provides evidence that footwear choice may be an important consideration in managing knee OA.

 

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The Rush research team involved in the study includes Roy H. Lidtke, Markus A. Wimmer, Rachel A. Mikolaitis, Kharma C. Foucher, Laura E. Thorp, Louis F. Fogg and Joel A. Block.

Please note: Based on the study results, a patented shoe design called X-Sole Relief Technology in Flex-OA has been developed by Dr. Comfort. The shoe has been available on the market since January 2013.

 

 

October 14, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sick from Your Stomach: Bacterial Changes May Trigger Diseases Like Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Fingers

Rheumatoid Arthritis Fingers (Photo credit: david__jones)

From the 11 June 2012 ScienceDaily article

The billions of bugs in our guts have a newfound role: regulating the immune system and related autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers at Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Larger-than-normal populations of specific gut bacteria may trigger the development of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and possibly fuel disease progression in people genetically predisposed to this crippling and confounding condition, say the researchers, who are participating in the Mayo Illinois Alliance for Technology Based Healthcare.

The study is published in the April 2012 issue of PLoS ONE.

“A lot of people suspected that gut flora played a role in rheumatoid arthritis, but no one had been able to prove it because they couldn’t say which came first — the bacteria or the genes,” says senior author Veena Taneja, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic immunologist. “Using genomic sequencing technologies, we have been able to show the gut microbiome may be used as a biomarker for predisposition.”…

 

…Researchers found that hormones and changes related to aging may further modulate the gut immune system and exacerbate inflammatory conditions in genetically susceptible individuals…

..

“The gut is the largest immune organ in the body,” says co-author Bryan White, Ph.D., director of the University of Illinois’ Microbiome Program in the Division of Biomedical Sciences and a member of the Institute for Genomic Biology. “Because it’s presented with multiple insults daily through the introduction of new bacteria, food sources and foreign antigens, the gut is continually teasing out what’s good and bad.”

The gut has several ways to do this, including the mucosal barrier that prevents organisms — even commensal or “good” bacteria — from crossing the lumen of the gut into the human body. However, when commensal bacteria breach this barrier, they can trigger autoimmune responses. The body recognizes them as out of place, and in some way this triggers the body to attack itself, he says….

June 12, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Age-old remedies using white tea, witch hazel and rose may be beneficial


Researcher Tamsyn Thring at work in the laboratories at Kingston University London. (Credit: Image courtesy of Kingston University)

From the Science Daily article of Thu Dec 1, 2011 

Age-old remedies could hold the key to treating a wide range of serious medical problems, as well as keeping skin firmer and less wrinkled, according to scientists. Experts have discovered that white tea, witch hazel and the simple rose hold potential health and beauty properties which could be simply too good to ignore.

The research suggests a number of naturally-occurring substances may offer the hope of new treatments to block the progression of inflammation. It is credited with a major role in both the initiation and development of diseases ranging from cancer, diabetes and arthritis through to neuro-degenerative conditions and cardiovascular and pulmonary problems.

“For thousands of years people used natural remedies to try — and sometimes succeed — in curing their ailments and preserving their youth,” Professor Declan Naughton, from the University’s School of Life Sciences, said. “Now the latest research we have carried out suggests a number of naturally-occurring substances may offer the hope of new treatments to block the progression of inflammation.”….

….The new study builds on work undertaken by Professor Naughton and Kingston University PhD student Tamsyn Thring, along with the technical team from Neal’s Yard. They tested 21 plant extracts for evidence of their efficiency in fighting cancer and also in the battle against aging. Of the 21 extracts, three — white tea, witch hazel and rose — showed considerable potential, with white tea displaying the most marked results. “Indeed it appeared that drinking a simple cup of white tea might well help reduce an individual’s risk of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis or even just age-associated wrinkles,” Professor Naughton said.

December 2, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Nutrition | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Trouble With Nightshades by Amy Croan MPH

Beware of nightshades

 

The Trouble With Nightshades by Amy Croan MPH.

from the 19th November blog item

Got aches and pain? Eliminating nightshades from your diet for a full 3 to 4 weeks is likely to provide total relief.

What are Nightshades?

Nightshades are part of the Solanaceae family of plants including tomatoes, tomatillos, hot and sweet peppers (not black pepper), potatoes (but not yams/sweet potatoes), eggplant, huckleberries, tobacco, pimento, paprika and cayenne, Tabasco sauce, and the poisonous belladonna and mandrake.

This ominous-sounding group of vegetables contains alkaloids, which can exacerbate arthritis, muscle tremors, paralysis and difficulty breathing. For especially sensitive people or those allergic to nightshades, these alkaloids can be fatal. For the rest of the population, it may encourage joint inflammation resulting in arthritis, of which there are about one hundred varieties, gout, or digestive problems and GERD, eczema and psoriasis. Alkaloids cause the bones to excrete calcium and other minerals and trace elements from the body.

Unless we are making a conscious effort, we are eating a much higher concentration of nightshades than we are aware. Nightshade spices are in most processed grocery store foods, including mayonnaise, salad dressings, salsa, and mixed spice packets just to name a few. But it’s also because we subconsciously seek them out because we crave them. They are high in potassium and counter the high sodium content in animal foods, i.e., meat and potatoes; cheese pizza with tomato sauce, etc. Unknowingly, we search for food combinations to make the appropriate balance.

The degree to which people can be affected by nightshades varies by individual and no medical research has definitively proven nightshades to cause or inflame arthritis, but testimonies and physician trials have shown enough relief that many medical practices recommend nightshade elimination from diets. Even a small amount ingested can cause minor irritations to death, depending on the individual.

Thousands of people who regularly received cortisone injections for arthritis pain relief have been able to discontinue the shots after three to four weeks without eating tomatoes, salsa, potatoes, eggplant and cayenne pepper.

Interesting Stats

  • Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery: Of the 52% rigidly on the diet [without nightshades], 94% reported complete or substantial relief of arthritis.
  • Dr. Bruce Ames/Dr. Swirsky Gold: In a poisoning associated with a school lunch program, 61 of 109 school children and staff in Alberta, Canada, became ill, most within 5 minutes, after eating baked potato.
  • Potato neurotoxins have been shown to cause birth defects in rodents.
  • Positive correlation of appendicitis incidence rates with potato consumption.

Nightshades have been used and referenced in shamanism, witchcraft, and murder. They come with a history of both mystical danger and scientific caution. Some of the alkaloid properties have been used as anesthesia, and they are still a basis for potent narcotic medicine and sleeping pills.

It’s worth taking a nightshade-break in your diet for a few weeks to see if you feel better. I wouldn’t be surprised if you did! If you absolutely cannot, cooking the vegetables will reduce alkaloids by nearly half.

Related Reading:

Calcium For Bone Health: Not What You Thought

Tomatoes Are Evil

November 19, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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