Clinical Trial Shows Promise of Stem Cells in Offering Safe, Effective Relief from Arthritic Knees

Stem cells collected from the patient’s own bone marrow holds great interest as a potential therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee (KOA) because of their ability to regenerate the damaged cartilage. The results were released today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM).

KOA is a common, debilitating disease of the aging population in which the cartilage wears away, resulting in bone wearing upon bone and subsequently causing great pain. In its end stages, joint replacement is currently the recommended treatment. In the first clinical trial of its kind to take place in Canada, researchers used mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), collected from the patient’s own bone marrow under local anesthesia, to treat KOA.

The study was conducted by a research team from the Arthritis Program at the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, led by Sowmya Viswanathan, Ph.D., and Jaskarndip Chahal, M.D. “Our goal was to test for safety as well as to gain a better understanding of MSC dosing, mechanisms of action and donor selection,” Dr. Viswanathan said.

Full story at Business Insider

High-Intensity Interval Training Increases Injuries, Rutgers Study Finds

People who engage in high-intensity interval training are at greater risk for injury, especially in the knees and shoulders, a Rutgers study found.

These workouts, which combine aerobic exercising, weight lifting and calisthenics at maximum capacity, followed by periods of recovery, have been growing in popularity over the past decade, driven by the efficiency of the exercise to deliver fitness goals in less time.

The study, which appears in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, acknowledged that while this type of training is effective in improving cardio respiratory fitness, boosting energy and promoting lean muscle mass and fat loss, it also increases injury risk.

“These workouts are marketed as ‘one size fits all.’ However, many athletes, especially amateurs, do not have the flexibility, mobility, core strength and muscles to perform these exercises,” said Joseph Ippolito, a physician in the Department of Orthopaedics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Full story at rutgers.edu

Torn rotator cuff: Everything you need to know

A torn rotator cuff is a common injury that affects a person’s ability to lift and rotate their arm.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, an estimated 2 million people in the United States will visit a doctor for a rotator cuff problem each year.

The rotator cuff is four muscles connected by tendons to the humerus, or upper portion of the shoulder.

When a rotator cuff tear occurs, one or more of the tendons detaches from the humerus. The tear may be complete or partial and can cause significant pain and restrict movement.

Full story at Medical News Today

A glove to treat symptoms of stroke

The most obvious sign someone has survived a stroke is usually some trouble speaking or walking. But another challenge may have an even greater impact on someone’s daily life: Often, stroke survivors lose sensation and muscle control in one arm and hand, making it difficult to dress and feed themselves or handle everyday objects such as a toothbrush or door handle.

Now, doctors and engineers at Stanford and Georgia Tech are working on a novel therapy that could help more stroke survivors regain the ability to control their arms and hands – a vibrating glove that gently stimulates the wearer’s hand for several hours a day.

Caitlyn Seim, a graduate student at Georgia Tech, started the project in the hope that the glove’s stimulation could have some of the same impact as more traditional exercise programs. After developing a prototype, she approached Stanford colleagues Maarten Lansberg, an associate professor of neurology, and Allison Okamura, a professor of mechanical engineering, in order to expand her efforts. With help from a Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Neuroscience seed grant, the trio are working to improve on their prototype glove and bring the device closer to clinical testing.

Full story at Medical Xpress

3D-PRINTED TISSUE COULD FIX ATHLETES’ DAMAGED JOINTS

Scientists engineered scaffolds that replicate the physical characteristics of osteochondral tissue—basically, hard bone beneath a compressible layer of cartilage that appears as the smooth surface on the ends of long bones.

Injuries to these bones, from small cracks to pieces that break off, are painful and often stop an athlete’s career in its tracks. Osteochondral injuries can also lead to disabling arthritis.

The gradient nature of cartilage-into-bone and its porosity have made it difficult to reproduce in the lab, but Antonios Mikos, a bioengineer at Rice University and graduate student Sean Bittner used 3D printing to fabricate what they believe will eventually offer a suitable material for implantation.

Full story at futurity.org

Osteoporosis: New tools help pinpoint potential risk genes

A combination of powerful tools has helped scientists identify two new genes that could contribute to osteoporosis through their effect on bone density. The finding could lead to better treatments for the bone-weakening disease.

The study, by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in Pennsylvania, highlights the importance of understanding the 3D geography of the genome in locating genes that cause disease.

The team points out that identifying DNA variants, or differences, behind diseases, is not necessarily enough to locate the genes that cause the disease. The variants, for example, could be triggers of genes in other parts of the genome.

Full story at Medical News Today

Top 10 stretches for shoulder tightness

Shoulder stretches can help relieve muscle tension, pain, and tightness in the neck and shoulders.

Stiff or tight shoulders can cause discomfort and limit a person’s range of motion. If the tightness goes unchecked, it can lead to neck pain and cause tension headaches.

In this article, we describe 10 shoulder stretches and their benefits. We also discuss what causes shoulder tightness and how to prevent it.

Full story at Medical News Today

Surgery and other treatments offer viable options for adult scoliosis

For years, spine surgeons have debated the best methods for treating scoliosis in adults. Spinal curvature often results in more back pain, leg pain and other symptoms for adults than teens because adults also can have degeneration in the discs between vertebrae, and spinal stenosis — a narrowing of the opening for the spinal nerves. Still, there hasn’t been good evidence regarding whether it’s better for adults with scoliosis to have corrective surgery or whether nonoperative treatment, such as physical therapy or nerve injections, is adequate.

To help answer that question, doctors at nine centers in North America followed more than 200 adults who had discomfort due to lumbar scoliosis — deformities affecting the lower part of the spine. The NIH-funded trial ran from 2010-2017 and is the only government-funded study of spinal deformity in adults.

The research effort — led by spine surgeon Keith H. Bridwell, MD, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis — found that surgery usually helped patients improve. It helped correct their curvature, and they had less pain. But the researchers also found that those who didn’t have surgery usually did not go on to experience more severe pain or a more extreme spinal deformity during a two-year follow-up period. In fact, they found that the most important factor in deciding whether to operate was the extent of a patient’s disability, and how much that disability interfered with day-to-day life.

Full story at news-medical.net

Children with cerebral palsy to benefit from ‘artificial muscles’

A team of researchers from the University of Delaware has received nearly $200,000 in start-up funding to develop a motorized ankle foot device for children with cerebral palsy (CP) that includes a novel artificial muscle.

The brace is the first lower extremity device designed to correct alignment or provide support using soft muscle-like “smart materials,” known as dielectric elastomer actuators, that contract in response to electric current.

Made from off-the-shelf elastic materials, these artificial muscles closely mimic the function of the body’s skeletal muscle and can help children with CP that struggle to complete a range of motion under their own power. The device is lightweight, compact and noiseless, too, reducing the size of the orthosis needed while increasing the wearer’s degree of freedom in movement — a vast improvement over heavier, more rigid technologies.

Full story at news-medical.net

Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements

After reviewing thousands of case studies going back 25 years across six countries, generalisable survival data is now available for the first time to estimate how long hip and knee replacements are likely to last.

The findings of researchers, funded by the National Joint Registry, from the Musculoskeletal Research Unit at the University of Bristol have been published in The Lancet. These findings show that eight out of ten total knee replacements and six out of ten total hip replacements will still be in place after 25 years.

“Over two million hip and knee replacements have been performed in the UK since 2003 and patients often ask clinicians how long their hip or knee replacement will last, but until now, we have not had a generalisable answer.” said lead author Dr. Jonathan Evans, National Joint Registry Research Fellow and Clinical Research Fellow at the Bristol Medical School; Translational Health Sciences (THS), based at Southmead Hospital.

Full story at Medical Xpress