Got arthritis joint pain? Scientists say, “Get moving!” – Issue 43

Dear Health-Conscious Friend,

If you are experiencing stiffness and pain from arthritis in your muscles and joints,then you know it can take the enjoyment out of doing the things you love to do.

But researchers have found that daily exercise actually helped many arthritis sufferers douse their fiery joint pain—and boosted their energy levels!

Find out more about these study results in today’s Monday Edition of Health News Weekly™.

You’ll also discover why scientists say major surgery can cause memory loss. And I’ll also tell you about a surprising remedy for trimming unwanted belly fat.

So let’s get started!

EXERCISE Helps Ease Arthritis Pain!

Layne Lowery

Moderate exercise can help older adults ease the pain and fatigue of arthritis, a new study suggests.

The research, published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, examined an exercise program developed by the Arthritis Foundation. The program is called PACE—an acronym for “People with Arthritis Can Exercise.”

The program is offered in many U.S. communities as an eight-week series of twice-weekly classes. It is designed to help arthritis sufferers fit moderate physical activity into their lives.

For the current study, Dr. Leigh F. Callahan and researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill followed 346 older adults who participated in PACE classes in North Carolina. The results?

At the end of eight weeks, participants generally reported improvements in their pain and fatigue. They also reported feeling more confident in their ability to manage their arthritis.

Six months after the program ended, participants were still reporting less pain and fatigue!

The research team concluded that PACE classes can help improve overall arthritis symptoms. But for lasting improvements, the team recommends that people stick with the classes beyond the basic eight-week series.

FDA Approves Quick Test to ID
Deadly MRSA Staph Infections!

Roz Roscoe, Staff Writer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its approval to begin marketing the first rapid blood test for the drug-resistant staph bacterium known as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

According to a January 2 agency release, this strain of bacteria has been known to cause potentially deadly infections.

Staph infections occur frequently among patients with weak immune systems receiving treatment in hospitals and other health care facilities.

Methicillin is an antibiotic that has been used successfully to treat Staphylococcus aureus infections.

But MRSA is a dangerous mutant strain of bacterium resistant to methicillin—and which has a higher fatality rate!

MRSA can cause potentially life-threatening infections to your blood stream… surgical site infections… and even pneumonia.

The new test—known as BD GeneOhm StaphSR Assay—uses molecule tests to identify whether a blood sample contains MRSA bacterium.

It can also determine if you have a more common, less dangerous staph bacterium that can still be treated with methicillin.

Distinguishing between the two sources of infection is critical to successful treatment.

Health care workers can now get test results in just two hours—a drastic improvement over previous test methods.

FDA cleared the new test based on the results of a clinical trial at five locations. The new assay identified 100 percent of the MRSA-positive specimens and more than 98 percent of the more common, less dangerous staph specimens.

“The BD GeneOhm test is good news for the public health community. Rather than waiting more than two days for test results, health care personnel will be able to identify the source of a staph infection in only two hours, allowing for more effective diagnosis and treatment,” said Daniel G. Schultz, M.D., director, FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Fast Fact

Research proves vitamin C not only fights infectious cold germs—but is also a powerful antioxidant. However, to be effective you have to take higher doses than the usual 2 to 4 grams daily.

>Prescription medications—and even over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin—increase the rate at which your body destroys vitamin C.

Scientists tend to agree that 2,000 mg of vitamin C daily can help build your defenses against the damaging effects of the Western diet and lifestyle.

Why not “C” for yourself!

Aging Boosts Risks of Post-Surgery
Memory Problems

Haley Whiten, Contributing Editor

People age 60 and older who undergo major surgery may be at higher risk of lasting memory problems, U.S. researchers concluded.

According to a Reuters report, researchers said seniors who have major surgeries—such as joint replacements or hysterectomies—are more likely to have cognitive problems after surgery.

And those who do are more likely to die in the first year after their surgery.

Dr. Terri Monk, an anesthesiologist at Duke University Medical Center, led a team that examined hospital discharge records of 1,064 patients aged 18 and older.

The group completed memory and cognitive function tests before surgery, at the time of discharge from the hospital and three months later.

Researchers put patients into three groups:

  • Young—age 18-39
  • Middle-aged—age 40-59
  • Elderly—age 60 and older

Three months after surgery, 12.7 percent of elderly patients experienced reduced brain function.

By comparison, just 5.7 percent of those in the “young” group or 5.6 percent in the “middle-aged” group had similar memory trouble.

The study suggests that anywhere from 30 to 41 percent of adults undergoing major non-cardiac surgery have some form of memory problems when they are discharged.

The good news is—most people recover after three months. But patients 60 and older were more than twice as likely to still have problems three months after surgery.

And even worse, those who experienced memory problems were more likely to die within the first year after surgery.

Researchers are unsure why some patients suffer these problems. They suspect that surgery and anesthesia cause brain swelling—and this can affect a patient’s ability to process information, Monk said in a statement.

She said the study suggests the elderly may be predisposed to cognitive problems after major surgery. Knowing this could help doctors develop better strategies to prevent the effects of surgery and anesthesia on the aging brain.

Take these findings into careful consideration if your thinking of having any type of elective surgery. The health risks from surgery go up considerably for seniors.

Health E-Hints

Fight Fat WITH Fat!

Are you struggling to trim a bulging waistline? If so, you might be surprised to know you’ll have more success if you eat more F-A-T!

But it has to be the right kind of fat.

Research shows it’s easier to stay slim eating monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, and omega-3’s. Fish, flaxseed, tofu and walnut oils are some excellent sources.

Omega-6 fats—commonly found in cereals, corn oil and baked goods—are the kinds of fat that settle around your waistline.

And you definitely want to avoid trans fats—which have NO nutritional value. These are commonly used in sweet treats and crunchy snack foods such as potato chips.

If you make an effort to eat the right kinds of fats—you’ll be on your way to looking “ab-fabulous” in no time!