Tag Archives: Arthritis Research Campaign

‘Bee Sting Honey’ for Arthritis

LOXAHATCHEE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: A honey bee sit...
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A New Zealand company is seeking EU approval to market honeybee venom to help people with arthritis ease their pain.
……………Hony Bee

The honey may offer the gain without the pain

Nelson Honey & Marketing says two teaspoons a day of its honey with added venom milked from honeybees has anti-inflammatory power to soothe joints.

The venom concept is not new – some clinics even offer up bee stings.

The UK‘s Food Standards Agency said it would be considering the application in the coming months.

“It’s difficult to postulate the action of honeybee venom or how it purports to work, because any available evidence is entirely anecdotal ” Says Professor Alan Silman of the Arthritis Research Campaign

The Manuka honey with added bee venom has been available in New Zealand for 13 years and its makers say although it does contain a venom, it has proved extremely safe.

It contains a blend of honey derived from the native New Zealand Manuka tree and dried venom harvested from the Apis mellifera honeybee using electrical milking machines that send impulses to stimulate worker bees to sting through a latex film onto a glass collector plate.

Anecdotal benefit
The Nectar Ease label advises consumers to start with a quarter of a teaspoon a day and increase this to one or two as required.

It also warns that people with allergies to honey or bee venom should seek medical advice prior to use, and that it should not be given to infants under 12 months of age.

Honey has long been hailed for its healing properties, but the Arthritis Research Campaign said it was sceptical about the beneficial properties of honeybee venom in the treatment of arthritis.

The charity’s medical director Professor Alan Silman said: “We recently compiled a report on the effectiveness of complementary medicines in treating the common types of arthritis based on available scientific evidence and honeybee venom didn’t feature, as no research has been done into this product.

“As a result, it’s difficult to postulate the action of honeybee venom or how it purports to work, because any available evidence is entirely anecdotal.”

Source: BBC News:3 July.’09

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Arthritis Therapies ‘Ineffective’

Most complementary therapies used by people with rheumatoid arthritis are not effective, a study has suggested.

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The Arthritis Research Campaign looked at the scientific evidence available for 40 treatments.

Two thirds of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and a fifth of treatments for osteoarthritis were found to be ineffective by the researchers.

The Arthritis Research Campaign said it wanted people who used the therapies to know what evidence was available.

Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by inflammation of the lining (synovium) of the joints.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of protective tissue called cartilage in the joints. Inflammation results when the unprotected bones of the joint begin to rub together.

It most commonly affects the joints of the fingers, knees, hips, and spine.

In total, 60% of people with arthritis are thought to use some form of complementary medicine.

Antler velvet

The researchers looked at compounds taken by the mouth or applied to the skin.

Effectiveness is measured by improvements in pain, movement or general well-being.

When the researchers examined treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, they found 13 out of 21 complementary medicines were shown to have no or little effect based on the available evidence.

The 13 were: antler velvet powder, blackcurrant seed oil, collagen, eazmov (a herbal mixture), feverfew (herb), flaxseed oil, green-lipped mussels, homeopathy, reumalex herbal mixture, selenium, the Chinese herb tong luo kai bi, vitamins A, C and E, and willow bark.

However, fish body oil was given five out of five in the report, for being effective in reducing joint pain and stiffness.

In addition, six out of 27 treatments for osteoarthritis were shown to have little or no effect based on the available evidence

Capsaicin gel, made from chilli peppers, proved most effective in relieving pain and joint tenderness.

But the effectiveness of glucosamine, a popular supplement used by people with OA which costs around £10 a month, which researchers have previously said was ineffective, again called into question.

For fibromyalgia, which causes widespread pain in muscles and joints, only four products were assessed, none were found to be highly effective with three medicines scoring two out of five, and the fourth just one.

Side effects

The researchers also examined how safe compounds were.

One – thunder god vine, a traditional Chinese medicine – was given a “red” classification, meaning there were serious safety concerns.

A quarter of the compounds were given an “amber” safety classification, because there were some reported side-effects.

The team said they were unable to evaluate the effectiveness of 36 therapies, including basil, green tea, sarsaparilla and St John’s Wort because there was insufficient data.

Professor Gary Macfarlane, from the University of Aberdeen, said while different things worked for different people, “it is useful to also have the scientific evidence available and just as important to know how safe we think they are to use.”

Professor Alan Silman, the Arthritis Research Campaign’s medical director, added: “We didn’t start this saying this was our opportunity to knock complementary medicines.

“The message is not ‘don’t take them’. The message is ‘if you are going to take them, be aware of what the level of evidence is’.”

Dr Peter Fisher, clinical director of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, said the report focused on tablets and preparations applied to the skin, missing out therapies such as acupuncture and osteopathy.

“I think what really comes across in this report is how sorely under-researched this area is,” he said.

Jane Gray, president, of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists added: “This report is a commendable attempt to provide information on self help products for osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.”

Sources: BBC NEWS:

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Worm ‘May Help Treat Arthritis’

A substance secreted by parasitic nematode worms may help provide a more effective treatment for inflammatory types of arthritis.
Nematode worms can cause serious disease
The molecule, ES-62, already circulates in the blood of millions of people infected with the worms in the Tropics.

It prevents the massive inflammatory response that the worms are otherwise capable of producing in conditions such as elephantiasis.

The Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde will carry out the project.

Auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, tend to be rare in countries where parasitic worm infections are endemic, and the researchers believe ES-62 may be key.

They aim to produce a synthetic derivative of ES-62 which could be used to develop new drugs to combat rheumatoid arthritis.

They also hope the same approach could ultimately be fine-tuned to treat other types of auto-immune diseases, using cocktails of several ES-62 derived drugs.

ES-62 has no known adverse effect on general health, nor does it inhibit the ability of infected people to fight other infections.

 

Thermostat

Researcher Professor William Harnett said: “We will be focusing on mechanisms of combating hyper-inflammation that have developed naturally and with apparent acceptance by humans during their co-evolution with parasites.”

Professor Iain McInnes, who will also be working on the project, said: “ES-62 appears to act like a thermostat to effectively turn down disease-causing inflammation which leaves essential defence mechanisms intact to fight infection and cancer.

“This property also makes ES-62 a unique tool for scientists to identify how such disease-causing inflammation occurs.”

A spokeswoman for the Arthritis Research Campaign, which is funding the work, said new treatments to tackle the painful inflammatory effects of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis were much-needed.

She said: “Despite the advent of new classes of drugs such as anti-TNF therapy, there are many people whose arthritis is not under control, and this is an exciting, and novel piece of research which may lead to new, more effective treatments.”

Rheumatoid arthritis is a potentially crippling joint disease, caused by the body’s immune system attacking itself, leading to inflammation in the joints and internal organs such as the heart and lungs.

It affects around 400,000 people in the UK. Women sufferers outnumber men by three to one.

You may click to see:->Alcohol ‘cuts risk of arthritis’

Sources: BBC NEWS:September 16. ’08

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Frankincense ‘Can Ease Arthritis’

A herb known as “Indian Frankincense” can reduce the symptoms of arthritis, US researchers have suggested.

Frankincense is used in aromatherapy and religious ceremonies

Extracts from Boswellia serrata, a similar species to the variety famous for its role in the Christian nativity, were tested on dozens of patients.

Those who received it reported better movement and less pain and stiffness.

The herb has been used for thousands of years in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, reports the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of the condition, and normally affects the weight bearing joints such as hands, wrists, feet and spine.

Current treatments carry a great many adverse effects, and scientists have been hunting for an alternative.

The investigation into the properties of Boswellia serrata was led by Dr Siba Raychaudhuri at the University of California, Davis.


“Certainly osteoarthritis is in need of new safe analgesics, although many effective therapies that reduce pain such as muscle strengthening exercises, shock-absorbing footwear and weight loss have very few bad side effects:
Says Professor Philip Monaghan, Arthritis Research Campaign

Eventually they tested an extract of the plant enriched with the chemical – AKBA – thought to be its active ingredient.

Some of the 70 patients with severe arthritis in their knees recruited into the trial were given a low-dose capsule, some a higher dose capsule, and the remainder were given a dummy pill with no active ingredients.

In as little as seven days, patients taking the frankincense drug reported improvements in their pain and stiffness levels compared with the placebo group, and these continued until the 90-day mark, when the study ended.

Alternative therapies

Tests of the fluid within affected joints also revealed falls in levels of enzymes linked to the condition.

Dr Raychaudhuri said: “We have shown that B. serrata enriched with AKBA can be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee.”

However, UK experts urged caution. Professor Philip Conaghan, from Leeds University, and a spokesman for the Arthritis Research Campaign, said: “Certainly osteoarthritis is in need of new safe analgesics, although many effective therapies that reduce pain such as muscle strengthening exercises, shock-absorbing footwear and weight loss have very few bad side-effects.

“This report on treating knee pain with a chemical derivative of B. serrata is interesting but the patient numbers are small, there were some problems with the reported trial design and we need more information on its medium to long-term safety.”

Sources: BBC NEWS:1st.Aug.’08

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