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The latest orthopaedic news from Medical News Today and local news publishers.

Obesity is a known risk factor for osteoarthritis, one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. A new study provides evidence that losing weight can slow the development of osteoarthritis of the knee by reducing the degeneration of knee cartilage.Researchers have found that weight loss can slow degeneration of the knee joint. Researchers found that overweight or obese adults experienced slower degeneration of knee joint structures after losing 5 or 10 percent of their body weight over 4 years, compared with those who did not lose weight.

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Using new gene-editing technology, researchers have rewired mouse stem cells to fight inflammation caused by arthritis and other chronic conditions. Such stem cells, known as SMART cells (Stem cells Modified for Autonomous Regenerative Therapy), develop into cartilage cells that produce a biologic anti-inflammatory drug that, ideally, will replace arthritic cartilage and simultaneously protect joints and other tissues from damage that occurs with chronic inflammation. The cells were developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Shriners Hospitals for Children-St. Louis, in collaboration with investigators at Duke University and Cytex Therapeutics Inc.

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Currently, there is no cure for osteoarthritis, the most common joint problem in the United States. A new study brings hope of a single-injection fix. The drug on trial clears out old cells from the joints.Research finds that a new OA drug is able to kill old cells. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a type of arthritis that occurs when cartilage at the ends of bones wears down. It can affect any joint in the body, but it most commonly affects the hands, neck, lower back, knees, and hips. In people over the age of 60, OA occurs in 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women.

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Older people newly prescribed sleeping pills like benzodiazepines and 'Z-drugs' have over double the odds of a hip fracture in the first two weeks compared with non-users, according to a new study by researchers at Cardiff University and King's College London. Dr Ben Carter, Cardiff University's School of Medicine and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, explains: "While 'Z-drugs are fast becoming the doctor's hypnotic prescription of choice, there is no evidence that they are a safer alternative to benzodiazepines in relation to hip fracture risk. "Our study shows that both appear to significantly increase the risk of hip fracture when newly prescribed by doctors.

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A trial funded by the charity Arthritis Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has discovered a drug combination that could help thousands of children with arthritis. Over 5,000 children and adolescents with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) in the UK are likely to develop uveitis, a condition that causes inflammation in the middle layer of the eye. The drug combination discovery will help preventing them from serious complications, including blindness. The trial was first of its kind in the world and the findings are a major step forward for children with JIA.

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Women at the highest genetic risk for fracture benefit the most from hormone therapy, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by researchers at the University at Buffalo. The study included nearly 10,000 participants from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a national, long-term study of more than 150,000 women. "We found that women who are genetically at the highest fracture risk can enjoy the greatest protection from fracture when they use hormone therapy," said Heather Ochs-Balcom, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health in UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions, who led the research team.

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Physical activity can lower the risk of heart damage in middle-aged and older adults and reduce the levels of heart damage in people who are obese, according to research published in JACC: Heart Failure. Obesity is associated with structural and functional abnormalities in the heart and subsequent heart failure. Heart failure may be caused by subclinical myocardial damage, in which there is damage to the heart muscle but a patient does not show sign or symptoms. Researchers examined 9,427 patients aged 45-64 years without cardiovascular disease and a body mass index of more than 18.5 kg/m2.

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A new laboratory technique developed by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and other institutions can rapidly test the effectiveness of treatments for life-threatening breast cancer metastases in bone. The study appears in Nature Communications. "For a number of breast cancer patients, the problem is metastasis - the dissemination of breast tumor cells to other organs - after the primary tumor has been eliminated," said corresponding author Dr. Xiang Zhang, associate professor of molecular and cellular biology and the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor.

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Hoag Orthopedic Institute (HOI), which has performed the most joint replacements in California for five consecutive years, released its 2017 Outcomes Report, an annual publication which provides detailed information about the previous year’s surgical volumes, care quality metrics, infection and readmission rates, and patient satisfaction scores along with other key statistics.  

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Among patients with acute low back pain, spinal manipulation therapy was associated with modest improvements in pain and function at up to 6 weeks, with temporary minor musculoskeletal harms, according to a study published by JAMA. Back pain is among the most common symptoms prompting patients to seek care. Lifetime prevalence estimates of low back pain exceed 50 percent. Treatments for acute back pain include analgesics, muscle relaxants, exercises, physical therapy, heat, spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and others, with none established as superior to others.

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