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Novel drug eases osteoarthritis knee pain

A new research has shown that a phase II clinical trial of the first new type of drug for musculoskeletal pain since aspirin shows that it significantly reduces knee pain in osteoarthritis.

According to the new research from Northwestern Medicine, phase III trials of that drug, tanezumab, have been placed on clinical hold after 16 out of several thousand participants in the new trial developed progressively worsening arthritis and bone changes that required total joint replacements.

“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,” said Thomas Schnitzer, a rheumatologist and professor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Northwestern Medicine.

Tanezumab is the first new drug for general muscle or joint pain in over 100 years, Schnitzer said, noting nonsteroidals and COX inhibitors are a ‘fancy form of aspirin’.
Other drugs currently used to treat pain have significant side effects — bleeding, ulcers and an increase in heart attacks — that limit their use.

Anecdotally, tanezumab appears to provide greater pain relief than current drugs.

Blueberries could help fight hardening of the arteries

Start eating blueberries if you have atherosclerosis, for the humble fruit can actually help fight artery hardening associated with the disease.

The research provides the first direct evidence that blueberries can help prevent harmful plaques or lesions, symptomatic of atherosclerosis, from increasing in size in arteries.
Xianli Wu, Little Rock, with the US Department of Agriculture’s  Agricultural Research Service, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Centre and with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, led the investigation.

Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of two forms of cardiovascular disease — heart attacks and strokes. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans. The study compared the size, or area, of atherosclerotic lesions in 30 young laboratory mice.
Half of the animals were fed diets spiked with freeze-dried blueberry powder for 20 weeks; the diet of the other mice did not contain the berry powder.

Lesion size, measured at two sites on aorta (arteries leading from the heart), was 39 and 58 per cent less than that of lesions in mice whose diet did not contain blueberry powder.

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