April 19, 2013
Forget digital fingerprints, iris recognition and voice identification, the next big thing in biometrics could be your knees? According to an article on Medical News Daily… Our fingerprints and other body parts can be used to prove who we are, and now apparently so too can our kneecaps. Computer scientist Lior Shamir of Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan, has now demonstrated how a knee scan could be used to single us out.
According to Shamir, the approach based on MRI could be used to quickly register and identify people in a moving queue as they approach passport control at airports for instance or as they walk through the entrance to an office block or other building.
Publishers, Inderscience. “Identification Via Fingerprints Or Knobbly Knees?.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 25 Jan. 2013. Web.
19 Apr. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/255351.php>
November 9, 2011
Yet again, a recent study may give us another reason to raise our glasses and toast to good health more often.
According to a study from U.K. investigators published in the online edition of Rheumatology, alcohol consumption is associated with reduced risk and severity of rheumatoid arthritis.
The study noted that, compared with patients who never or infrequently drank alcohol, patients who drank alcohol the most frequently had less severe symptoms, less damage to the joints as seen on radiographs, lower levels of inflammation as shown by blood tests, and less joint pain, swelling and disability.
A POSSIBLE EXPLANATION:
Maxwell (co-author of the study and consultant rheumatologist at the Rotherham Foundation NHS Trust)speculated in the release as to why alcohol consumption should reduce the risk and severity of RA: “There is some evidence to show that alcohol suppresses the activity of the immune system, and that this may influence the pathways by which RA develops. We do know that the changes in the immune system that lead to RA happen months and maybe even years before the arthritis actually develops. Once someone has developed RA, it’s possible that the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of alcohol may play a role in reducing the severity of symptoms… It is also possible that different types of alcoholic drinks may have different effects on RA,” Maxwell stated in the release.
WHAT IS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS?
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a form of inflammatory arthritis and an autoimmune disease. For reasons no one fully understands, in rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system – which is designed to protect our health by attacking foreign cells such as viruses and bacteria – instead attacks the body’s own tissues, specifically the synovium, a thin membrane that lines the joints. As a result of the attack, fluid builds up in the joints, causing pain in the joints and inflammation that’s systemic – meaning it can occur throughout the body. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, meaning it can’t be cured. Most people with RA experience intermittent bouts of intense disease activity, called flares. In some people the disease is continuously active and gets worse over time. Others enjoy long periods of remission – no disease activity or symptoms at all. Evidence shows that early diagnosis and aggressive treatment to put the disease into remission is the best means of avoiding joint destruction, organ damage and disability.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
The symptoms and course of rheumatoid arthritis vary from person to person and can change on a daily basis. Your joints may feel warm to the touch and you might notice a decreased range of motion, as well as inflammation, swelling and pain in the areas around the affected joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is symmetrical, meaning if a joint on one side of the body is affected, the corresponding joint on the other side of the body is also involved. Because the inflammation is systemic, you’re likely to feel fatigued and you may become anemic, lose your appetite and run a low-grade fever.
Rheumatoid arthritis may affect many different joints and cause damage to cartilage, tendons and ligaments – it can even wear away the ends of your bones. One common outcome is joint deformity and disability. Some people with RA develop rheumatoid nodules; lumps of tissue that form under the skin, often over bony areas exposed to pressure. These occur most often around the elbows but can be found elsewhere on the body, such as on the fingers, over the spine or on the heels. Over time, the inflammation that characterizes RA can also affect numerous organs and internal systems.
References:http://www.orthosupersite.com/view.aspx?rid=67020 Alcohol consumption is inversely associated with risk and severity of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/keq202
September 19, 2011
Well brace yourselves for a real shocker… according to a recent study, eating dark chocolate improves athletic performance just as much as exercise. Skeptical?? I sure am, but here’s the claim…
Dark chocolate contains the plant compound epicatechin, which appears to stimulate muscle growth in a similar way to vigorous activity such as jogging. And when small doses were eaten in combination with regular exercise, performance was boosted by 50 per cent.
Dr Moh Malek, from Wayne State University in Detroit, said: ‘Aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, is known to increase the number of mitochondria in muscle cells. Our study has found that epicatechin seems to bring about the same response – particularly in the heart and skeletal muscles.’
Come Out and Support The Arthritis Foundation and The 6th Annual Shindig TONIGHT @ Rockit Bar & Grill!
September 9, 2011
Please come and join me tonight in support of a wonderful cause… The fight against juvenile arthritis
6-9pm @ Rockit Bar & Grill (22 W Hubbard, Chicago, IL)
Did you know that approximately 294,000 children under the age of 18 are affected by pediatric arthritis and rheumatologic conditions.
Number of Americans with arthritis or chronic joint symptoms: www.arthritis.org
1985 – 35 million
1990 – 37.9 million
1998 – nearly 43 million (1 in 6 people)
2006 – 46 million (nearly 1 in 5 adults)
Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems and the nation’s leading cause of disability among Americans over age 15.
Arthritis is second only to heart disease as a cause of work disability.
Arthritis limits everyday activities such as walking, dressing and bathing for more than 7 million Americans.
Arthritis results in 39 million physician visits and more than a half million hospitalizations.
Costs to the U.S. economy totals $128 billion annually.
Arthritis affects people in all age groups including nearly 300,000 children.
Baby boomers are now at prime risk. More than half those affected are under age 65.
Half of those Americans with arthritis don’t think anything can be done to help them.
Arthritis refers to more than 100 different diseases that affect areas in or around joints.
Arthritis strikes women more often than men.
Women – 24.3 million of the people with doctor-diagnosed arthritis
Men – 17.1 million of the people with doctor-diagnosed arthritis
In Honor of September Being Arthritis Awareness Month AND National Yoga Month Check Out These Postures for Pain Relief
September 8, 2011
For the Full Article from Rediff.com Click HERE
Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, gives you five simple practices for pain relief.
Yoga offers pain relief in a subtle but sure way. It encourages controlled movement around body areas in trouble. This in turn takes the necessary repairing agents, through a focused blood supply, towards healing that part. For specific types of pain there are different postures that help heal and rejuvenate the troubled area.
Mudras also help by using safe, easy to-do-yourself hand gestures that may be used even in chronic pain for both sustained and immediate pain relief, in some cases being almost as effective as pain killers.
Progressive hospitals and doctors encourage yogic meditation, somewhat similar to modern-day hypnosis, for pain relief. Meditation, it has been found, kickstarts the repairing mechanism of the body, called the parasympathetic nervous system.
Tests done on patients, including those with terminal illnesses, has found that yogic meditation does indeed help with pain control. Though the exact route of this mechanism is not yet clear, researchers believe it could be manipulated by focusing the mind on simple activity — like watching one’s own breath or listening to yogic meditation tapes.
This lowers blood pressure, improves breathing, promotes blood circulation, relieves the digestive system of the effects of stress, releases contraction in tense muscles, promotes lymphatic drainage, promotes the movement of repairing agents, boosts nutrient absorption and works on master glands. The last, it seems, holds the key. When the master glands are touched upon, as happens in yoga, they give out the all-clear signal which ripples throughout the body, promoting relief.
Supta baddhakonasana (Lying leg locked pose)
Lie on your back. Bring soles of feet close together, as shown. Draw them closer to the hips. Place back of hands on the ground. Or you may place them on the thighs. If the knees are very stiff or feel too high off the ground, keep cushions under either knee to keep them comfortable.
Lie back for as long as is comfortable, eyes shut. You will find the body releases tensions subtly from several tense or pain spots. It can be deeply relaxing. Watch your breath meditatively. Or, if you practice other forms of yogic meditation attempt it while relaxing in this pose. This pose is best felt when held for long. Ideally anything over three minutes.
Benefits: It is deeply relaxing. Releases tensions. Promotes hormones from the uro-genital system dealing with our emotions.
Vata naashak mudra (Hand gesture to control the air element in the body)
Hold the index and middle finger down with the thumb. Do for each hand. You may use this mudra while meditating, or while doing pranayama, or independently even while engaged in day to day activity like commuting, or resting on bed, or watching television, though its effects are best when in a meditative mood.
Do for three to five minutes several times a day for pain relief.
Benefits: In yoga each finger is said to represent each element. The index finger represents the air element while the middle finger represents the ether element. By pressing down into these two elements that deeply affect the nervous system, an overall sense of calmness is achieved which is believed to provide pain relief.
Vayu naashak mudra (Hand gesture to control air element)
Press down index finger with thumb. Do for each hand. Other instructions as for vata naashak mudra.
Benefits: As above, it helps control the air element that deals with the nervous system, relieving anxiety, hyper vigilance of the mind, and helps to relax it towards pain relief.
Yoga nidra (Sleep of yoga)
Lie on your back, legs apart, hands away from the body. Shut eyes. Take the mind over each part of the body, deliberating imagining that you are relaxing it. Do so till your cover the whole body, including parts of the face.
The entire process should take you 10 to 15 minutes at least. Try not to fall off to sleep. Keep the mind engaged with the activity, though for those unused to mediation or yogic focus this may be difficult.
Use a tape if it is difficult to do on your own. Also, do not move any body part while doing this practice, avoiding unnecessary fidgeting. Ensure that there will be no disturbance like phone or door bell ringing, etc for maximum benefit.
Benefit: This is one of the most healing of yogic meditation techniques. It shuts down the chatter of the brain by keeping it focused. This in turn affects the entire nervous system positively and encourages healing by the induced relaxation where the repairing parasympathetic nervous system kicks in.
Marjariasana (Cat stretch)
Sit on your fours as shown, palms under shoulders, legs bent at knees. Inhale, arching the spine up, curving it, chin tilted up. Exhaling, lower the chin between collar bones locking it there, drop the spine, roll the stomach in, stiffen both arms and legs consciously.
Hold for a few seconds, breathing normally. This is one round. Release with an exhalation, repeating five to ten times.
Benefits: This is a gentle workout for the entire body, promoting blood circulation that in turn promotes healing. The tense-release movement of the pose rejuvenates blood supply, taking it all corners of the body, including the face, promoting the transport of repairing chemicals and agents. Since it is deeply relaxing, it helps with pain relief.
For more of Shameem’s yoga writings visit http://jaisivananda.blogspot.com. Shameem’s second book Yoga in the workplace, with photographs by ace photographer Fawzan Husain, is now available at online shops and bookshops across the country. It is also available as e-book, with Kindle, Amazon.
September 6, 2011
Ever wonder how often the Doctor or Nurse you see at a Hospital or even a doctor’s office change their scrubs/gowns? I honestly had never really thought much of it until I came across this article on OrthoSuperSite this morning…
Warning… germaphobes beware!!!
Needless to say, I am now thoroughly grossed out and yes, now I understand why I go straight to the shower after coming home from a day of surgeries, even after changing out of my scrubs.
According to the article, a recent study found dangerous bacteria on more than half of physicians’, nurses’ uniforms.
More than 60% of hospital nurses’ and physicians’ uniforms tested positive for potentially dangerousbacteria, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
A team of researchers in Israel led by Yonit Wiener-Well, MD, collected 238 swab samples from the abdominal zone, sleeve ends and pockets of 75 registered nurses’ and 60 physicians’ uniforms, then asked each participant to complete a questionnaire.
Although 79 (58%) of the participants claimed they changed their uniform daily and 104 (77%) described their attire’s hygiene level as “fair to excellent,” the study authors were able to isolate potentially pathogenic bacteria from at least one site on 85 participants’ uniforms (63%) — 119 samples (50%) in all.
The authors also noted they found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in 21 samples removed from nurses’ gowns and 6 samples removed from physicians’ gowns — including 8 cultures that grew methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus.
“Up to 60% of hospital staff’s uniform are colonized with potentially pathogenic bacteria, including drug-resistant organisms,” the authors wrote. “It remains to be determined whether these bacteria can be transferred to patients and cause clinically relevant infection.”
While the study does state that they aren’t sure if the bacteria can be transferred to patients… it has to make you wonder because, when you think about it, they are traveling from room to room, one patient to another while making their rounds all the while in the same uniform. Just something to think about… and potentially gross you out.
Wiener-Well Y, Galuty M, Rudensky B, et al. Nursing and physician attire as possible source of nosocomial infections. Am J Infect Control. 2011. doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2010.12.016.
August 29, 2011
I have to admit… I own and absolutely heart my Skechers Shape-ups. I was definitely a bit skeptical at first but after I waited until they came out with a pair that looked a little less like nursing home shoes I decided it was time to try out the new technology. While I’d never give up my workouts, which are usually 6 days/week, I have found that when I don’t have time to get to the gym, just wearing these shoes around for a few hours make my legs burn and tire out nicely! That said, just the mere muscle soreness I feel in my thighs and honestly my butt makes me think there really must be something to these claims after all.
That said, it seems that a little instability is creating a whole lot of cash for sneaker makers. Toning shoes — which are sneakers designed with an unstable sole so leg muscles have to work harder to maintain balance during everyday activities — are the fastest-growing segment in the footwear industry, with sales expected to jump fivefold to $1.5 billion this year. (source)
Some of the most popular brands are as follows:
According to a USA Today report, shoe analyst Matt Powell of SportsOneSource predicts that sales will explode 400% this year, to more than $1.5 billion. This sudden growth is not surprising considering heavy promotion including Super Bowl ads featuring Kim Kardashian throwing over her personal trainer for her Skecher shoes and targeting men through endorsements by Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. Couple great marketing with our natural desire to want to get in shape without the work and the appeal of toner shoes is understandable.
According to Skechers.com, Shape-ups are designed to improve posture, improve circulation, increase muscle tone, reduce joint strain, strengthen the back and firm calves, thighs and buttocks. This product is able to do this with a dynamic rounded bottom and kinetic flexible insert to mimic walking.
However, these popular shoes aren’t without their critics. ”There’s major risks, especially for adults,” said David M. Davidson, national president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. He has treated patients who developed Achilles tendonitis and stress fractures that he suspects were caused by wearing toning shoes. “Creating instability, on adults especially, is not a good thing.” (Kansas City Injury Board)
In Ohio, a lawsuit by Holly Ward claims that Skechers Shape-Ups have caused serious injury to her hips.
Though previously active, Ms. Ward was interested in the added toning claimed by Skechers and wore the “Shape-Up” shoes for five months, both for walking and during her job as a waitress. At the end of that time something was seriously wrong. A doctor’s visit and MRI showed that both hips, specifically the femoral necks, were fractured.
“The extensive use of these shoes has injured me catastrophically,” Ward said. She ended up with surgery to insert six pins to hold her hips together. Ward’s life now consists of physical rehab and moving about with a walker.
While the jury is still out on how damaging these shoes might actually be to our joints, I remain a believer in their claims and plan to continue wandering (because I’d never dare run in them) the streets of Chicago wearing my Shape-ups.
August 22, 2011
We’ve all heard the health benefits of eating a healthy & balanced diet of whole grains, fruits, veggies etc… so maybe it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to hear that Prunes are the latest addition to a list of foods that are beneficial to your bone health.
Florida State University researcher, Bahram H. Arjmandi (Florida State’s Margaret A. Sitton Professor and chairman of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences in the College of Human Sciences) has found a simple, proactive solution to help prevent fractures and osteoporosis: eating dried plums.
In the United States, about 8 million women have osteoporosis because of the sudden cessation of ovarian hormone production at the onset of menopause. What’s more, about 2 million men also have osteoporosis.
Over my career, I have tested numerous fruits, including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins, and none of them come anywhere close to having the effect on bone density that dried plums, or prunes, have, says Arjmandi. All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional.
For More Information on this Study, Click HERE
The group’s research, “Comparative Effects of Dried Plum and Dried Apple on Bone in Post Menopausal Women,” was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Arjmandi conducted the research with his graduate students Shirin Hooshmand, Sheau C. Chai and Raz L. Saadat of the College of Human Sciences; Dr. Kenneth Brummel-Smith, Florida State’s Charlotte Edwards Maguire Professor and chairman of the Department of Geriatrics in the College of Medicine; and Oklahoma State University statistics Professor Mark E. Payton.
LOCAL FOUNDATION ASKS PUBLIC TO HELP RAISE MONEY FOR KIDS WITH ARTHRITIS:
There are more children with juvenile arthritis than children with diabetes, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy & cerebral palsy combined
Help children with arthritis by attending the Arthritis Foundation’s sixth annual SHINDIG fundraiser event on Friday, September 9, from 6-9 PM. It is open to the public and will be located at Rockit Bar & Grill, 22 W. Hubbard Street in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Admission includes drinks and passed appetizers.
Entry is $45 in advance and $55 at the door. Pre-registration is recommended. Buy tickets or donate by visiting http://AFChicagoShindigKintera.org. All proceeds from this annual event support the Arthritis Foundation’s programs for children with arthritis and their families.
“Think of your child waking up screaming or coming to you crying in pain that her body, her legs, or hips or jaw hurts, and she can’t hardly move them, or that her eyes are hurting and they are blurry so she woke up with excruciating pain.” – Kim Warren, mother of Bailey, child with arthritis
Juvenile Arthritis (JA) affects 300,000 children in the US. It is an auto-immune disease that attacks all of the joints in the body. As you can probably imagine, having a child with Juvenile Arthritis can be extremely draining to families like the Warrens. The diagnosis is physically, emotionally and very often financially draining to those affected by the disease. Children with JA are in incredible pain from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep each night. While doctors and scientists attempt to find the right treatments, children like Bailey spend most of their youth in and out of doctor offices.
As a volunteer driven organization, the Arthritis Foundation is the single largest non-profit funder of arthritis research in the world, addressing the needs of all Americans affected by arthritis. Arthritis is the #1 form of disability in the United States. Since 1948, the Arthritis Foundation has invested more than $380 million in arthritis research supporting 2,200 scientists in 100 institutions.
August 17, 2011
The end of Metal, Plastic and Ceramic Joint Replacements may not be as far-fetched as once thought. I’m pretty sure this is not happy news for the manufacturers of orthopedic devices… which play in a market valued in the Billions.
According to a recent article in the USA TODAY, in a decade or so, people now receiving metal and ceramic replacement joints may instead be able to have a fully functional biological replacement — a joint grown within their own bodies to their specific physiology.
To date, researchers have successfully grown replacement shoulder joints in rabbits, using an implanted biological “scaffold” upon which new cartilage developed, according to a study reported in The Lancet.
The new process works by implanting in the damaged joint what’s called a bioscaffold, which has been infused with a medication known as transforming growth factor beta-3. The drug encourages the body’s own cells — stem cells included — to become cartilage and bone cells.
The scaffold is made from polycaprolactone, a biodegradable plastic, and hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral found in bone and teeth.
Researchers removed the entire humeral head — the ball part of ball-and-socket shoulder joints — from rabbits used as test subjects and then implanted the scaffolds to grow a biological replacement for the missing piece.
The study reported that the rabbits implanted with the drug-infused scaffolds were able to use the joints and support themselves with them faster and more consistently than rabbits not given the scaffolds. After four months, a new cartilage surface for the humeral head had grown in place, with no complications or adverse effects. Researchers have been able to demonstrate that using a specific type of scaffold that’s been doped with a specific type of growth factor, cells will basically populate the scaffold and create cartilage.
(Dr. Thomas A. Einhorn, chairman of orthopaedic surgery and a professor of orthopaedics, biochemistry and biomedical engineering at Boston University and a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and Dr. James L. Cook, a veterinarian and director of the Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory at the University of Missouri, and a member of the research team.)