HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

April 2016

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RESEARCH ROUNDUP

The Many Faces of D

 


Less Vitamin D Equals Less

Activity Among Arthritis Patients

Older arthritis patients with lower vitamin D levels are less likely to be physically active, according to a recent study.

A research team at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston analyzed the records of patients who had knees or hips replaced between 2002 and 2012. All had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, as opposed to rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, and weren’t suspected of having underlying disorders that could affect vitamin D status. In addition to having their vitamin levels tested, the patients filled out questionnaires to show how active they had been.

The investigators selected 182 patients, generally in their 60s and 70s, who met the study criteria. Those with vitamin D levels below 20 ng/mL were nearly three times as likely to have low scores on their physical activity assessments as those with higher vitamin levels.

“Our results suggest that vitamin D status may be a modifiable risk factor for loss of functional mobility in OA patients,” the study team wrote in the Journal of Restorative Medicine.

The team theorized that having enough vitamin D in one’s system helps slow the age-related loss of both muscle mass and joint cartilage thickness in addition to reducing musculoskeletal pain. The report also called for larger studies to validate the team’s findings and to “assess the potential benefit of optimizing pre-operative (vitamin D) levels” in patients considering knee or hip replacement surgery.

 

Vitamin D May Aid People With MS

Research has shown a link between low levels of vitamin D and increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Now a new study indicates that taking supplemental D may help restrain the out-of-control immune response associated with MS.

The 40 volunteers had relapsing-remitting MS, the most common type, in which attacks of symptoms such as numbness or weakness alternate with remissions. They took either 800 IU or 10,400 IU of vitamin D3 a day for six months (the current recommended amount is 600 IU).

As reported online in the journal Neurology, people taking the higher vitamin D dosage had changes in levels of immune-system components called T cells that are related to MS activity. These changes were not seen in volunteers taking the lower dose.

“These results are exciting, as vitamin D has the potential to be an inexpensive, safe and convenient treatment for people with MS,” said study author Peter Calabresi, MD, of Johns Hopkins University.

 

Vitamin D Linked
to better quality of life in IBS

Scientists have long puzzled over irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition marked by abdominal pain and other symptoms. But a British study team reports that vitamin D supplementation has made life better for people with irritable bowel.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield gave either vitamin D, vitamin D plus probiotics or a placebo to 37 IBS sufferers for 12 weeks. While volunteers in all groups improved, those who took D by itself saw the greatest gains. Their quality-of-life scores went from 22.2% to 92.3%, according to the journal BMJ Open Gastroenterology.

 

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Acupunture May Ease

Fibromyalgia Pain

 

 

Fibromyalgia, and the chronic pain, fatigue and poor sleep it brings, can be frustrating to cope with. However, a recent study suggests that acupuncture may help people with this baffling disorder—particularly if the treatment is tailored to each person’s needs.

Spanish researchers recruited people, all women, who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia according to criteria from the American College of Rheumatology. They were randomly assigned to two groups: One in which each participant received a personalized set of acupuncture treatments over nine weeks and one in which participants received simulated treatments. Both groups were asked about their levels of pain and depression, and their quality of life, before the sessions began and then at 10 weeks, 6 months and 12 months afterwards.

Of the 153 people who completed the study, pain scores for those who received real acupuncture fell an average of 41% at 10 weeks compared with 27% for the placebo group.

And those improvements persisted; The drop in pain scores was 20% after a year in the treatment group but only 6% among the others.

Results were published online in Acupuncture in Medicine.

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NUMBERS

 

Self-Sabotaging Weight Loss

 

60%

Overweight people who

reported feeling easily frustrated,

which may make weight

loss difficult

 

45%

Those who feel living a

healthy lifestyle is a “hassle”

 

18%

Those who believe that weight

regain is inevitable

 

Source: PsychTests.com

 

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