A minimally invasive treatment may target hunger at its source, another uses X-ray visible embolic beads to block arteries to the stomach and suppress hunger and a third explores the use of stem cells to repair vertebral disc degeneration. Initial results from all these studies were reported at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 37th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. Approximately 127 million Americans (or 65 percent) are overweight, obese or morbidly obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of morbid obesity is also rising rapidly. Two new studies that explored the use of proven interventional radiology treatments in new ways may have the potential to help individuals with morbid obesity. "Currently, there are three clinically viable surgical alternatives for obesity: gastric bypass surgery, gastric pacing and endoscopic gastric banding.
Italian researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome found an important molecular mechanism responsible for low back pain and other acute vertebral problems like cervical axial pain, all due to aging and degeneration of the vertebral column. The team led by Dr. Luigi Aurelio Nasto and Enrico Pola also developed an experimental drug to inhibit this degenerative mechanism, by blocking its principal culprit, the molecule, "NF-kB" and tested it successfully in mice. The study was carried out in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh research team led by Paul Robbins, James Kang and Nam Vo. Researchers reported their findings in the journal Spine. Nasto and Pola found that high concentration of NF-kB causes the degeneration of intervertebral discs (the structures that separate and damp the vertebrae), a degenerative process that could affect also young adults (30 year old), especially if they adopt a sedentary lifestyle.
Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT) Provides Lessons in Treatment and Care The Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT) is the first comprehensive study to look at the effectiveness of different treatments for low back and leg pain. It was designed to provide data and outcomes to guide doctors and their patients in their treatment choices for three common spinal disorders: intervertebral disk herniation (IDH), degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS), and lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). The results from the trial, which began in 2000, are already having a strong impact on orthopaedic practice, and the appropriate role of surgical intervention, according to a review on SPORT appearing in the March issue of the JAAOS. Treatment of spinal disorders, both surgical and nonsurgical, comes at a high cost to insurance providers, hospitals and society.
A study published in the March issue of Neurosurgery, the official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, describes a new method of electrical stimulation that uses an implanted device with three columns of electrodes, which could increase the efficiency of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for severe back pain. Spinal cord stimulation gains maximum benefits with the help of the "tripolar lead" device, which is used for patients in whom back surgery has failed. The device could broaden electrical stimulation technique applications. SCS involves applying electrodes that are implanted along the spine with a gentle, stimulating electrical current that, if successful, produces a feeling of numbness that overpowers the sensation of pain. Previous studies have demonstrated that SCS has proven successful in patients with back and leg pain that remains unresponsive to other treatments.
The use of epidural steroid injections may be a more efficient treatment option for lumbar disc herniations, according to research presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day in San Francisco. "Our study showed an 89% success rate in athletes returning to play after suffering an injury during practice or a game, " commented lead author Aaron J. Krych, MD, from the Mayo Clinic's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. "These injections are a safe initial therapy in athletes that do not have neurological deficits, allows them to participate effectively in physical therapy sooner, and can significantly reduce the time a player misses." Lumbar disc herniation is a back injury common in sports such as football, which involve direct contact and sometimes jumping or twisting motions.