A new study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases finds that compared to females born with average birth weight, those born with heavy birth weight are two times as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis when they become adults. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that occurs when the immune system attacks the joints, lungs or skin and results in inflammation, pain, and loss of functioning mobility. Researcher L A Mandl (Division of Rheumatology, Hospital for Special Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College) and colleagues argue that these findings support the fetal origin of disease theory. That is, factors that occur during pregnancy program an individual to be more prone to certain diseases and conditions in adult life. For example, previous research has linked low birth weight to conditions such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and high blood pressure, and high birth weight has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and leukemia.
Smokers suffer more chronic back pain. This was the result of the analysis of a questionnaire performed by Monique Zimmermann-Stenzel and her colleagues and published in the current edition of Deutsches Arzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int, 2008; 105: 441-8). http://www.aerzteblatt.de/v4/archiv/pdf.asp?id=60552 In 2003, the Robert Koch Institute interviewed more than 8000 private persons in the course of a telephone health survey (GsTel03). This included questions on social and demographic themes, as well as health and life style. On the basis of the collected data, the authors examined whether there was an association between smoking and chronic back pain. Their evaluation showed that smokers or former smokers suffer chronic back pain much more often than do non-smokers. The number of years the subjects had been smoking or had smoked was decisive.
A ground breaking technique has visually shown the development of hips in fetuses for the very first time. Tissue from the hips of spontaneously aborted fetuses ranging from 8 weeks of gestation to full term were dyed and studied in both natural light and polarised light microscopy. The results showed that 'there were considerable â differences between the anterior and posterior labral chondral complexes which were consistent throughout all ages of gestation'. This will add to understanding of this area to aid in diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as degenerative arthritis of the hip particularly in adolescence. The authors call for further research using this method in order to fully understand 'the normal anatomy of this region â so that surgeons may correctly interpret their intra-operative findings'.
Voluntary exercise does not appear to reduce anxiety and depression in diverse populations, but exercise and mood could be associated through a common confounding genetic factor, according to an article released on August 4, 2008 in the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Regular exercise has previously been associated with the reduction of anxiety and depression. This has been concluded through experiments with specific clinical populations, but a causal relationship has not yet been established in the general population. Because there is the possibility of a confounding factor that causes exercise and reduction of symptoms to coincide, it is important to investigate the causal relationship between the two. To investigate this, Marleen H. M. De Moor, M.
Italian researchers suggest that pain is associated with Parkinson's disease after finding that pain appears more common in people who suffer from the condition than in those who do not. Their results are published in the September issue of Archives of Neurology. "Patients with Parkinson's disease often complain of painful sensations that may involve body parts affected and unaffected by dystonia [involuntary muscle contractions], " write author Giovanni Defazio, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Bari, Italy) and colleagues. Patients describe the pain as similar to cramping or arthritis, and the pain has features like pain deriving from nerve damage. The researchers note that, "The high frequency of these pain disorders in the general population makes it hard to establish whether pain is more frequent among people with Parkinson's disease than among age-matched controls.