Nov 17, 2010

Important Medicine News Stem Cells Reach New HeightsAnd More..

Stem Cells Reach New Heights

NEW YORK (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- 

What is subjected to more weight and is injured more than any other joint in our body? The answer is our ankles. When an injury, sprain or break doesn't heal right the problem creeps up years later in the form of arthritis. A new procedure using stem cells from the patient's own body is regenerating joints and giving people more mobility.

Vern Tejas spends most of his life on top of the world.
His resume includes conquering Mount McKinley 40 times, Mount Kilimanjaro 20 times and Mount Everest nine times.

"The physical challenge of going someplace that's off the beaten road…" Tejas told Ivanhoe.
A broken ankle from 30 years ago created his biggest barrier yet.
"It's getting to the point where I'm limping," Tejas explained.
The cartilage in between his subtalar joint right below the ankle, was gone.

"The conventional treatment for that is to fuse the subtalar joint which means make it stiff," S. Robert Rozbruch, M.D., chief, Limb Lengthening and Complex Reconstruction Service Hospital for Special Surgery, said.
That's not an option for Tejas. So, doctors tried a new approach. Implant a fixator for three months that pulls apart the joint. Then, inject stem cells in the new four-millimeter space where cartilage will regenerate.
"We used stem cells derived from his pelvis," Dr. Rozbruch added.

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   Osteoarthritis Pain Relief
The most common type of osteoarthritis pain, knee pain, may become less severe, or even eliminated all together with a new type of drug for musculoskeletal pain, a new trial suggests.

The drug, tanezumab, has been placed on hold however, because 16 out of thousands of patients began to experience more severe arthritis after taking the medication. "The bottom line is this is a very effective drug for relieving pain; unfortunately, it appears some people go on to have their osteoarthritis progress more quickly," Thomas Schnitzer, M.D., a rheumatologist and professor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Northwestern Medicine, was quoted as saying.
Tanezumab is the first drug that has been discovered to treat this type of pain in over 100 years. "It's very exciting to have a new approach to manage pain for osteoarthritis," Dr. Schnitzer said.
"The effects of tanezumab were remarkable," Nancy Lane, M.D., professor of internal medicine at UC Davis School of Medicine, added. "People on the drug went from having very limited activity to practically being on the dance floor. No medication available today has such dramatic results."
The explanation for those 16 patients who are suffering bad side effects? Dr. Schnitzer and Dr. Lane suggest the worsening of their conditions may be because tanezumab increased the patient's activity. As a result, more stress on their diseased joints was the result.
Tanezumab blocks Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). NGF is a molecule needed for the normal development of the human nervous system. NGF is responsible for triggering pain.
"The FDA may decide it's too dangerous overall or, rather, that there may be a specific patient population in which it should not be used or who need to be warned about possible serious side effects," Dr. Schnitzer concluded.
SOURCE: New England Journal of Medicine, September 26, 2010.
Weight Loss: Mind Control
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Can your mind control your health? Researchers at Harvard say 75 percent of all disease could be impacted by a better relationship between the mind and body. So if your mind can make you sick, can it also make you better? From healing faster to controlling pain to losing weight -- some believe we can think ourselves healthy.
John Cressman was 7 years old when he fell into a fire pit.
“I put my hands in to catch myself. I remember looking down at my hands and seeing the skin almost melted," Cressman told Ivanhoe.
Doctors told him he suffered third degree burns, would need skin grafts and could lose feeling in his fingers forever.
“I knew it was bad, and I knew it was painful,” Cressman recalled.
With his hands wrapped, he was sent home. Although he was focused on a fast recovery, he never imagined what he would see three weeks later when the bandages were removed.
“The skin, which I still remember them peeling off, had re-grown," Cressman said. "I know the power of the mind is amazing.”
It’s that power that psychotherapist Peggy Huddleston tries to capture for thousands of people before surgery.
“No one is going to have positive emotions about surgery," Huddleston said. "Everyone has negative emotions, but it’s how you can see it as a positive.”
Huddleston created five steps for patients to use before, during and after surgery. A Harvard study reports the program reduces anxiety and promotes healing. The steps include listening to a relaxation CD twice a day several days before surgery.
Step two: positive healing imagery. That's taking worries and turning them into positive thoughts.
“The third step is my favorite one," Huddleston explained. "They ask their friends and family to think of them wherever they are in the world and to wrap them in a blanket of love.”
Step four: The patient takes healing statements from the book and tapes them to their hospital gowns. The doctor then reads the statements during the surgery.

Gynecological surgeon Nina Carroll has been using the Huddleston technique for several years. Skeptical at first, her patients quickly changed her mind.
“Instead of being in bed, uncomfortable, the frown on the face, distant with the post-operative pain experience, they were like, ‘Hi, Doc, how are you? I’m fine,'" Carroll explained.
The last step to healing faster: meet your anesthesiologist. A Harvard study found that by just meeting your doctor, you’ll be calmer. Another study also shows calmer patients used 50 percent less pain medication and went home 2.7 days earlier than those who didn’t meet their doctor.
“It really seemed like my body was listening to the suggestions that I was imagining in my mind,” patient Debra Burns said.
Debra Burns used the technique before a biopsy.
"During the actual biopsy, I didn’t feel any pain,” Burns recalled.
“When there is expectation of recovery, that expectation changes brain physiology,” Jon-Kar Zubeita, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Radiology at the University of Michigan, said.
But some say a quick lesson on the positive will not affect your surgery outcome.
"They imply that all you need is to assume a positive attitude, and everything will be OK," Richard Sloan, Ph.D., Professor of Behavioral Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, said. "That’s very different from being characteristically optimistic. There’s no evidence you can assume a positive attitude and survive.”
Lisa Bohner hopes that’s not true. She plans to use the power of her mind to not just lose weight-- she’s hoping for much more.
“To live, because right now, I only merely exist," Bohner said. "That’s all that I do.”
She’s traveled from Ireland to Spain for a chance at a new life.
“I’m 455 lbs.," Bohner explained. "I sleep in a hospital bed, and I walk with a roll aider, and I refuse to stay in bed and say ‘I’m done."
Instead, she’s trying a new experimental technique -- Gastric Mind Band. Patients are hypnotized and imagine they are having gastric lap-band surgery.

Patients imagine a band is being placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a smallerfood pouch -- reducing the size of their stomach from a coconut to a golf ball.

“It works if people want it to work," Marion Shirra, a clinical therapist at Gastric Mind Band in Malaga, Spain, said. "It’s so effective because we’re working on people’s minds.”
Joh Smith underwent mind band two years ago.
“When I came back, I knew that I hadn’t had an operation, but then when I went to go and eat, something had changed," Smith recalled. "All I know now is I can’t physically eat the same amount of food I used to eat.”
Joh was 184 pounds and had given up on diets. She’s now 50 pounds lighter and hopes to be an inspiration for Lisa and others like her.
“I’m going to do everything I can to make it work, follow what they want me to do and keep my fingers crossed,” Bohner said.
Expectation is a big part of mind over medicine. A Duke study looked at its role in pain relief. When scientists gave volunteers identical dummy pills before and after an electric shock, they told some the pills cost two dollars and 50 cents -- others only 10 cents. Eighty-five percent of those getting the more expensive pill reported relief compared to 60 percent of the people who got the less expensive version.

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