Arthritis

Chondroitin and melanoma: How worried should you be?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Research in mice found that the supplement chondroitin sulfate led to the growth of melanoma cells, and though this does not mean it will do the same in people, there isn’t much evidence to support taking chondroitin anyway.

Are you taking too much anti-inflammatory medication?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely used and generally safe, but they can cause problems, especially if the recommended dosage is exceeded. A new study found that a significant percentage of people were doing this, sometimes intentionally but not always.

The mysterious rise in knee osteoarthritis

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

It’s tempting to attribute the increasing prevalence of osteoarthritis of the knee to more people being obese or overweight, but researchers found that it’s not quite that simple.

Fish consumption and rheumatoid arthritis: Natural remedy or just another fish tale?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Researchers examining the connection between fish consumption and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis found an association that suggests eating more fish is beneficial.

Can you virtually improve your knee pain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study of people with osteoarthritis of the knee found that at the end of the study period, those participants who received more personalized attention via the web (including physical therapy sessions and information about pain management) had less pain and better movement function.

Anti-inflammatory medications and the risk for cardiovascular disease: A new study, a new perspective

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The results of a large study of the anti-inflammatory medication celecoxib in people with arthritis and increased risk for cardiovascular disease are changing previously held beliefs regarding the drug raising the risk of heart attack or stroke.

The latest on glucosamine/chondroitin supplements

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Despite a lack of conclusive evidence, millions of Americans take glucosamine, chondroitin, or both for joint protection or relief from arthritis pain. While these supplements are considered safe, they are not regulated the way prescription drugs are and can cause side effects.

Knee replacement: Life changing or a disappointment?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Osteoarthritis, the “wear and tear” form of arthritis, can cause pain and restricted movement in the joints. Joint replacement surgery (typically for knees and hips) can restore mobility and reduce pain. However, these procedures involve risk, recovery and rehabilitation time, and the joint may still not feel completely normal. However, for some, surgery may improve quality of life and be better than the alternatives.

What Michelangelo’s hands (can and can’t) tell us about arthritis

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A recent journal article describes Michelangelo’s hands as depicted in an attempt to figure out potential joint diseases he may have had. Theories suggest some myths and misconceptions about the causes and symptoms of osteoarthritis and gout. This report has implications for today’s medical care. While a picture may tell a story, there is nothing like a thorough, in person exam to know accurately make sense of signs and symptoms.

Tai chi may be as good as physical therapy for arthritis-related knee pain

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Treatment options for osteoarthritis of the knee are limited, and many people turn to surgery as a last resort — so there’s a lot of interest in non-invasive treatments for this common condition. Researchers have just completed a head-to-head trial of standard physical therapy versus the traditional Chinese practice of tai chi, and they’ve found the latter is just as good as the former. If it’s something you’d like to try, go for it!