The Stigma Around Aging And Chronic Pain

The Stigma Around Aging And Chronic Pain

By Richard W. Besdine, M.D.

"Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself."

– Physician and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)

When you’re in pain, nothing else seems to matter. And if you’re an older adult, you are not only more likely to have pain, but also to get less help for it than younger people are.

Chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined, and is the top-cited reason for seeking medical care. The relief of pain is the heart and soul of health care. And while always unwelcome, pain often has an important role to play. It can provide a warning that something is wrong, such as infection or undiagnosed disease. It is sometimes called the "fifth vital sign," as essential as temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate, for assessing health status.

Full story at Huffington Post

Clinical study to test tobacco plants that produce antibodies for HIV

By News Medical

Pharmaceuticals can be produced by plants. Antibodies that have been produced  in tobacco plants will now for the first time be tested in a clinical study. The decision was announced at a press conference in London on Tuesday July 19th 2011.

UK regulators have approved Europe’s first clinical trial of a monoclonal antibody produced from genetically modified plants. This landmark decision sets the stage for the testing, in humans, of an anti-HIV product made from genetically modified tobacco plants. It will open the door for trials of additional plant-derived medicines treating a range of diseases.

The trial will test the safety of a plant-derived antibody designed to stop the transmission of HIV between sexual partners when applied directly to the vaginal cavity. If proven safe in the 11 participants, the researchers can then go on to test the effectiveness of the product.

Full story at

Portable robotic device, videogames can help patients to recover from stroke

By News Medical

Today 15 million persons throughout the world suffer from an ictus every year and 5 million are left with chronic disabilities. FIK designed a system for alleviating neuromuscular disability amongst these patients from their homes and by which these can be permanently supervised by the therapist who will be able to carry out a quantitative evaluation of the therapy. To this end, they have brought together new technologies and entertainment and a greater quality of rehabilitation.

The patient will be able to enhance his or her arm mobility by means of a portable robotic device and a software platform with videogames for tele-rehabilitation, so that the doctor can carry out the online monitoring of these exercises through the quantitative results obtained from the said games. This is the ArmAssist project, currently based at the La Fe Hospital in Valencia, to find out the degree of satisfaction of patients who have suffered a brain stroke and admitted to this hospital. Subsequently ArmAssist will be tested in other geographical areas such as Barcelona`s Guttmann Institute.

Full story at

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

By Medical News Today

Should I skip my morning workout today so I can sleep longer? Or perhaps, since it is summer after all, indulge in an ice cold Mocha Frappucino with whipped cream and chocolate syrup drizzled over it instead of my regular herbal tea? Where should I take my date on our first dinner date? Should I go to graduate school? Decisions, decisions, decisions…

We all make numerous decisions everyday; unconsciously or consciously, sometimes doing it automatically with little effort or thinking and yet, at other times, we agonize for hours over another. Why do we make these choices – be it from deciding what to have for lunch or whether to say yes to that job offer halfway round the world. Sometimes we make choices on our own, and at other times, the choice is made for us. Exercising control (by making choices) is adaptive and now, a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that the opportunity to exercise control may be adaptive because it activates the areas of the brain associated with rewards.

Full story at Medical News Today

Traumatic brain injury doubles risk of later dementia

BY Mary Brophy Marcus

A large study of older war veterans suggests those who experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI) during their lives had more than two times the risk of developing dementia, according to scientists from the University of California-San Francisco. The researchers presented their findings today at the Alzheimer’s Association‘s annual International Conference in Paris.

"We’re now getting a much better understanding that head injury is an important risk factor for developing dementia down the road," says lead researcher Kristine Yaffe, director of the Memory Disorders Program at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Yaffe and colleagues looked at medical records of nearly 300,000 veterans, all 55 or older. None had dementia at the study’s start. About 2% had had a TBI. All had at least one inpatient or outpatient visit between 1997 and 2000 and a follow-up sometime between 2001 and 2007.

Full story at USA Today

Lancet Column Calls For Immediate Expansion Of Global HIV Strategy

By Medical News Today

The Lancet, a leading global medical journal, published an editorial comment that emphasizes the critical role of expanding access to HIV treatment under a "Treatment as Prevention" strategy to stop the HIV pandemic.

The publication of the editorial comment coincides with the opening of the 6th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2011) taking place in Rome, Italy from June 17-20. The conference, the biggest open scientific AIDS conference in the world, will feature numerous presentations on Treatment as Prevention.

The commentary – by Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) and Past President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) – strongly reinforces the view that the benefits of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) extend beyond the remarkable effectiveness of the treatment to prevent the onset of AIDS and prolong life, to dramatically reduce HIV transmission.

Full story at Medical News Today

Omega-3 Relieves Anxiety, Inflammation in Healthy Sample

By Rick Nauert, PHD


In a new study, Ohio State researchers discovered consumption of fish oil reduced inflammation and anxiety among a group of healthy young people.

Researchers believe the findings suggest the elderly and people at high risk for certain diseases may benefit from similar dietary supplements.

The research is published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity and is the latest from more than three decades of research into links between psychological stress and immune response.

The benefits from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been debated for the last 30 years.

Full story at PsychCentral

Poor Posture Increases Pain Sensitivity

By Rick Nauert, PHD

It turns out Mom was right when she warned of the ill effects of bad posture: A new study finds that poor posture can increase sensitivity to pain.

Likewise, adopting dominant versus submissive postures actually decreases your sensitivity to pain, said Scott Wiltermuth, Ph.D., and Vanessa K. Bohns, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.

The new study found that by simply adopting more dominant poses, people feel more powerful, in control and able to tolerate more distress.

Out of the individuals studied, those who used the most dominant posture were able to comfortably handle more pain than those assigned a more neutral or submissive stance.

Full story at PsychCentral

Study Will Test Transplantation Of Gene-Modified Cells To Explore A Potential Cure For HIV Infection

By Medical News Today

Whether a stem cell transplant using an HIV-infected person’s own genetically modified immune cells can become a cure for the disease is the focus of a new $20 million, five-year research grant award announced today by the National Institutes of Health to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Hutchinson Center researchers will use the grant to lead a multifaceted team of scientists and institutions to study whether a person’s own stem cells can be engineered to deny HIV entry into the body’s blood cells. The researchers also will work to develop tools to eradicate existing reservoirs of infection in the body.

"Funding for research to find a cure for HIV-infected persons represents a paradigm shift," said Keith Jerome, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in viral infections and co-principal investigator of the grant. "HIV has been an incurable, lifelong infection that at best sentences people to a lifetime of complex drug therapies. Now the research field is shifting to address the possibility of a cure. No one would have talked about this approach five years ago."

Full story at Medical News Today

Brain Stimulation Reduces Competition Between Memories

By Traci Pederson

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is able to minimize forgetfulness by disrupting targeted brain regions as they compete between memories, according to a new study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“For the last 100 years, it has been appreciated that trying to learn facts and skills in quick succession can be a frustrating exercise,” explains Edwin Robertson, MD, DPhil, an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. “Because no sooner has a new memory been acquired than its retention is jeopardized by learning another fact or skill.”

Robertson, along with neurologist and co-author Daniel Cohen, MD, observed 120 college-age students who participated in two memory tests.

Full story at PsychCentral