ARTHRITIS WATCH

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Exercise Helps DietersKeep Bones Strong

When overweight people loseweight, they tend to lose bone mineraldensity at the same time, which increasestheir risk for osteoporosis. Astudy from Washington University in St.Louis, Mo, suggests that exercising tolose weight can help preserve bonestrength. The results of the studyappeared in the December 11, 2006,issue of the Archives of InternalMedicine.

Researchers randomly assigned 48healthy, nonobese people in their 50sto 3 groups as part of a 1-year study.The first group lowered their caloricintake by 16% in the first 3 months,then by 20% for the rest of the year.The second group increased theiramount of exercise by 16% in the first3 months, then by 20% for the next 9months. The third group was a controlgroup that had neither diet nor exercisemodifications.

The diet group lost an average of 17lb and the exercise group an averageof 14 lb. Those in the low-calorie group,however, also lost bone mineral density—more than 2% at the spine, hips,and leg. The researchers recommend acombined program of diet and exercisefor a more beneficial weight-loss program.

Oversized Purses Can Be Such a Pain

One of the biggest fashion trends last season was large, oversized purses.Although they may be stylish for a short time, the damage they can cause canlast for years if not dealt with promptly. Bigger bags mean more items to carry,and long-term usage of these weighted-down pocketbooks can cause back,neck, and shoulder pain, headaches, and possibly arthritis.

Jane Sadler, MD, a family practice physician at Baylor Medical Center atGarland, Tex, knows what to do when women patients come to her with neckpains and headaches. "I usually?look for their purse and pick it up," she said."We take it over to the scale and weigh it, and?they're anywhere from 7 to 10lb." She says that, carrying extra-large bags with extra items causes an imbalancein walking and standing that can leave a lasting impression. "It creates strainalong the neck and into the nerves that exit the neck and down the shoulder, soit can be very painful later on," she said.

Dr. Sadler suggests that, if a woman's purse is uncomfortable when wearing it,if she can feel it pulling her shoulder, or if it weighs more than a few pounds, itmight be time to downsize. "We're really going to see women with more andmore problems later on if we continue the big purse craze," she said.

Discovery About Cartilage May Aid OA Treatment

Scientists at the University of Manchester, UnitedKingdom, have revealed the structure of cartilage, in hopesof finding clues to help better treat patients with osteoarthritis(OA). For years, scientists have known that cartilagegets its strength from interlocking, millimeter-longcollagen fibers that work in a manner similar to load-bearingsteel rods in reinforced concrete. The precise structureof these fibers has remained unknown for over 40 years,however, thereby stalling any progression of potentialtherapies.

Researchers at the university used sophisticated electronmicroscope techniques to discover the molecular structureof the thinner of the 2 types of fibrils. They explained, "OAoccurs when the fibrils are disrupted or lost?. Eventually,the cartilage breaks down altogether?. Without a detailedunderstanding of the structure of these fibrils, a treatmentthat prevents them from deteriorating would always proveelusive." Once scientists learn how the fibrils form anddevelop into healthy cartilage, they can then study whatoccurs when diseases such as OA develop. The findingswere published in the November 2006 issue of the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Arthritis Foundation CommendsPain Relief Lotions

The Arthritis Foundation has given itsEase-of-Use Commendation to CastivaCooling and Warming Arthritis PainRelief Lotions. Castiva received the commendationfor providing a flip-top tubethat is easy for patients with arthritis,minor strains, and other joint symptomsto open. A favorable review was awardedwhen the product was evaluated bypatients with limited physical functionsdue to the effects of arthritis.

"We wanted to create a product thatwas truly innovative," said Greg Pulido,chief executive officer of HumcoHolding Group, the distributor ofCastiva. "It was important [that] Castivanot only worked, but was easy to useby those with joint or muscle limitations." The commendation gives Castivathe right to display the ArthritisFoundation's "Ease-of-Use" logo on thepackaging and advertising in recognitionof the "packaging innovation that?improves the quality of life for peoplewith arthritis by providing greateraccessibility."