Arthritis

Curcumin for arthritis: Does it really work?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Could a naturally-occurring substance derived from a common spice provide relief from osteoarthritis of the knee? A new study suggests curcumin might help, but the research has some important limitations.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: A new treatment for knee arthritis

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A TV ad for a procedure to treat arthritis of the knee claims that relief lasts for up to a year, but not much research has been done on its effectiveness. Studies are small and show little to support the claim.

Chronic Lyme arthritis: A mystery solved?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

About 60% of people infected with Lyme disease develop arthritis, and about 10% of those fail to respond to antibiotic treatment for unknown reasons. A new study has found a likely explanation for this medical mystery.

Is obesity a reason to avoid joint replacement surgery?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Overweight people are often turned down for joint replacement surgery, or told to lose a lot of weight first. But a new study found that having obesity should not be a deterrent to having joint surgery.

Why the wheelchair? Could it be gout?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Though only a small percentage of the population has gout, that number is on the rise. While dietary choices have long been believed to be a major cause of gout, a new study found that genetic factors matter much more.

Does weather affect arthritis pain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The question of whether there is a link between weather and aches and pains has been studied extensively, and so far researchers have been unable to establish a connection. So why do plenty of people insist that they can “feel” the weather?

Surgeons are doing fewer knee surgeries

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Arthroscopic surgery is very effective for certain knee conditions but less so for others. That didn’t stop orthopedists from recommending them, but based on data from Florida this may be changing.

How long will my hip or knee replacement last?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Anyone who needs a knee or hip replacement wants to know if it will be permanent, or if the replacement will need to be replaced at some point. While this is impossible to predict, and many factors affect longevity of replacement joints, data from past surgeries can help give some idea of what a person can expect.

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.