A friend recently told me that she was prescribed medical marijuana to help with her crippling and frequent migraine pain. As a reformed cigarette smoker, she decided against smoking it and instead, brewed the cannabis into a tea. While the resulting infusion only slightly eased her migraine pain, it made her feel groggy and slow (not ‘high’), so she abandoned this option as a viable alternative treatment.
When her mother who suffers from debilitating arthritis came for tea, she sampled the “special brew” and experienced the opposite effect: she became extremely agitated and therefore, declined to accept a second cup. I have another friend who uses marijuana to combat the debilitating effects of chemotherapy treatments; it is baked into bite-sized cookies that help suppress nausea and stimulate appetite. Continue reading
Photo courtesy of Fran Halter
Full disclosure: I’ve been struggling with my commitment to a gluten free diet. Adopting this way of eating is purely elective on my part because I do not suffer from a medical condition such as celiac disease or have a gluten sensitivity that makes it impossible to ingest glutens. I chose to be gluten free as a way to lessen the amount of inflammation in my body, perhaps to tame my osteoarthritis and lessen any flare-ups of my ankylosing spondylitis. Continue reading
The very early detection of rheumatoid arthritis and its prevention were highlighted at EULAR 2013 with an exciting presentation of a study of four new biomarkers.
“Prevention is better than a cure: A new dawn for the management of RA?” was the title of a presentation given by invited speaker Dr. Danielle M. Gerlag, an expert in clinical immunology and rheumatology at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Dr. Gerlag noted that research in RA prevention is focused on the earliest changes in the body as the disease starts. These include:
- Circulating auto-antibodies (which serve to identify disease)
- Increased acute phase reactants (proteins found in the blood that indicate the level of inflammation)
- Early synovitis (inflammation of the synovial fluid which lubricates joints)
Research is showing elevated levels of auto-antibodies can be found in blood samples a median five years before clinical symptoms appear.
“It is known that early in the course of disease, a window of opportunity exists during which the introduction of aggressive anti-rheumatic therapy can result in a change in the natural course of the disease,” Dr. Gerlag said, noting that this “can be brought to another level now that we are able to identify those who are at risk of developing RA, aiming at the prevention of the onset of clinical signs and symptoms of arthritis.
While there are no interventions that would prevent the onset of RA, Dr. Gerlag said, “The immunological knowledge has advanced to a stage where such an intervention is likely to be successful.”
Belgian researchers presented a study on four new biomarkers to help with early detection of RA – important research given that one-third of people with RA test negative to existing diagnostic antibodies RF (rheumatoid factor) and ACCP (antibodies directed against cyclic citrullinated peptides). This is unfortunate because it can cause delays in patients receiving treatment early enough to increase the chances of achieving remission.
The new biomarkers tested in the study were found to be 85% specific to RA and produced positive results in 36% of study patients with early RA and 24% of those who had tested negative to both RF and ACCP.
Today marks the first day of Occupational Therapy Month.
October isn’t just the time for falling leaves, Thanksgiving, and Halloween; in Canada it’s also the month for celebrating occupational therapy.
The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists is leading the celebration with a national ad campaign that will raise awareness of occupational therapy and encourage people to ask their insurance and healthcare providers for the services of an occupational therapist (OT). The campaign includes billboards in major cities, posters, bumper stickers, social media, and more. Get the details of what’s happening for Occupational Therapy Month and how you can participate at www.caot.ca. Continue reading
Inside the Victoria Arthritis Centre
Arthritis can strike at any age. Whether you’re diagnosed when you’re just starting out in your working life, have only been established in your career for a short time, or are approaching retirement, what will that mean for you? In some cases, it could lead to work disability, but occupational therapy can delay or prevent that possibility. Find out how. Continue reading
New legislation has led to increased roles and responsibilities for pharmacists and an evolution in the way pharmacists interact with patients. To get a sense of what that means for arthritis consumers, we spoke with Arthritis Research Centre of Canada (ARC) research scientist, Dr. Carlo Marra…