New ligament discovered in knee, Belgian surgeons say.

Knee-Ligaments

The knee joint is surrounded by ligaments to provide stability and support.

Knee surgeons in Belgium say they have identified a previously unfamiliar ligament in the human knee.

Writing in the Journal of Anatomy, they suggest the fibrous band could play a part in one of the most common sports injuries worldwide.

Despite glimpses of the ligament in medical history, this is the first time its structure and purpose have been so clearly established, they say. Continue reading

Posted in Arthritis, Bio-Mechanics, Exercise, Knee Pain | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Exercise rivals Medication for Heart Disease.

Exercise can be as good a medicine as pills for people with conditions such as heart disease, a study has found.

HeartDoing exercise regularly:

  • Can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50%.
  • Can lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.
  • Can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy as well as keep weight off.
  • Moderate activity, such as cycling or fast walking, gives your heart and lungs a work-out

The work in the British Medical Journal looked at hundreds of trials involving nearly 340,000 patients to assess the merits of exercise and drugs in preventing death.

Physical activity rivalled some heart drugs and outperformed stroke medicine.

The findings suggest exercise should be added to prescriptions, say the researchers. Continue reading

Posted in Exercise, Heart Disease, Medication, Placebo | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“A Placebo Conundrum” by Michael Brooks

beyond-imagination-marina-harrisIT SEEMED like a good idea until I saw the electrodes. Dr Luana Colloca’s white coat offered scant reassurance. “Do you mind receiving a series of electric shocks?” she asked.

I could hardly say no – after all, this was why I was here. Colloca’s colleague, Fabrizio Benedetti of the University of Turin in Italy, had invited me to come and experience their placebo research first hand. Colloca strapped an electrode to my forearm and sat me in a reclining chair in front of a computer screen. “Try to relax,” she said.

First, we established my pain scale by determining the mildest current I could feel, and the maximum amount I could bear. Then Colloca told me that, before I got another shock, a red or a green light would appear on the computer screen.

A green light meant I would receive a mild shock. A red light meant the shock would be more severe, like the jolt you get from an electric fence. All I had to do was rate the pain on a scale of 1 to 10, mild to severe. Continue reading

Posted in Healing, Health, Medication, Meditation, Pain, Placebo, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Acupuncture: East meets West

AcuA HAIR-THIN needle pricks the skin. What happens next depends on who you ask. A traditional Chinese practitioner will tell you that acupuncture manipulates the body’s vital energy, Qi (pronounced chee), balancing the opposing forces of Yin and Yang. When Yin and Yang are in harmony, Qi flows freely along pathways called meridians and you stay healthy, but when the Qi gets blocked you become ill. Inserting needles into points along a meridian unblocks Qi and restores the body’s healthy balance.

Western scientists explain it differently. They say inserting needles at acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release morphine-like substances that block pain signals. It may also trigger neurotransmitters and neurohormones, which influence such dynamic systems as circulation and the immune response.

Ever since acupuncture caught on in the West, we’ve been seeking to replace the Eastern mysticism with hard facts. But clinical trials so far have produced a disappointingly mixed bag of results that don’t seem to back up the anecdotal claims for the wonders of acupuncture. There might be a steadily building case for clinical relief of some types of pain and nausea. But the inconclusive studies still outweigh the positive ones. Continue reading

Posted in Acupuncture, Back Pain, Headaches, Healing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Broccoli slows Arthritis” researchers think.

BroccoliEating lots of broccoli may slow down and even prevent osteoarthritis, UK researchers believe.

The University of East Anglia team is starting human trials following on from successful lab studies.

Tests on cells and mice showed that a broccoli compound – which humans can also get from Brussels sprouts and cabbage – blocked a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage.

They are asking 20 patients to eat a daily dose of “super-charged” broccoli. Continue reading

Posted in Arthritis, Diet, Medication, Nutrition | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Antibiotics could “Cure 40% of Chronic Low Back Pain”.

Up to half a million patients with chronic low back pain may be suffering from an infection that can be treated with antibiotics.

SpineIf proved true, the revolutionary theory about the cause of one of the commonest and most debilitating ailments should win its discoverer the Nobel Prize, one surgeon said today.

However, the paper describing the research based on just 162 patients was turned down by the leading medical journals such as the Lancet and BMJ. It was published today in the European Spine Journal.

Researchers claim the treatment could be suitable for up to 40% of patients with severe, long term pain for whom the only alternative is surgery.

However, it is not as simple as replacing the painkillers with antibiotics. The treatment requires an MRI scan to detect distinctive “Modic” changes in the spinal column – named after the doctor who first observed them in the late 1980s – which are indicative of bacterial infection. Continue reading

Posted in Back Pain, Low Back Pain, Medication, Sciatica, Spinal Manipulation | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Gut Bacteria swap is alternative to Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric-SurgeryA bacterial cocktail could soon offer a knifeless alternative to gastric bypass surgery.

The gastric bypass limits a person’s food intake by, in effect, reducing the size of the stomach – often to the size of a walnut. The procedure is an effective treatment for obesity and associated diseases such as type 2 diabetes, and typically leads to a loss in excess body weight of between 65 and 75 per cent. However, it carries a high mortality risk, especially in severely obese individuals.

Lee Kaplan at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and colleagues may have discovered an alternative to surgery. The team performed a gastric bypass on mice and then fed microbes from their lower intestine to other healthy mice. The mice fed the bacterial cocktail lost five per cent of their body weight in two weeks, compared with mice on the same diet who had not been fed the bacteria. Continue reading

Posted in Diet, Gut Bacteria, Health, Immune system, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Nutrition, Obesity | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment