Researchers identify genetic variants associated with psoriatic arthritis

PsA is a common form of inflammatory form of arthritis causing pain and stiffness in joints and tendons that can lead to joint damage. Nearly all patients with PsA also have skin psoriasis and, in many cases, the skin disease is present before the arthritis develops. However, only one third of patients with psoriasis will go on to develop PsA.

The researchers, who are part of a European consortium, say that their work, which took three years to complete and is published in Nature Communications, is a breakthrough because genetic changes have been identified that increase the risk of PsA but not psoriasis.

Researchers find hormone that increases the sex drive of mice

Mice that receive a supplement of the ‘appetite hormone’ ghrelin increase their sexual activity, scientists have found. Whether the hormone has the same impact on humans is unknown — but if it does, the researchers may have found the key to future treatments for sex addiction.

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Study focuses on two natural approaches to preventing breast cancer

Preventing cancer requires intimate knowledge of how cancer starts, what causes it to grow and flourish, and how to stop it in its tracks. Sometimes this comes in the form of a vaccine (the HPV vaccine for cervical and head and neck cancers), a screening (a colonoscopy for colorectal cancer) or a blood test (the PSA level test for prostate cancer).

Carol Fabian, M.D., co-leader of The University of Kansas Cancer Center Cancer Prevention Program and the Morris Family Endowed Chair in Cancer Prevention, is leading a study for women with a higher risk of breast cancer that focuses on two natural approaches to preventing breast cancer: weight loss and omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

Mediterranean diet linked to improved CV function in erectile dysfunction patients

The Mediterranean diet is linked to improved cardiovascular performance in patients with erectile dysfunction, according to new research. Patients with erectile dysfunction who had poor adherence to the Mediterranean diet had more vascular and cardiac damage.

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Can-Fite BioPharma completes patient enrollment in CF101 Phase II/III psoriasis trial

Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd. (NYSE MKT: CANF) (TASE:CFBI), a biotechnology company with a pipeline of proprietary small molecule drugs that address inflammatory and cancer diseases, announced today that all patients enrolled in its Phase II/III psoriasis trial for the Company’s drug candidate CF101 have completed the study’s 32 week treatment protocol. The trial has been completed and the final data is ready for analysis. The Company plans to publish top line results by the end of March 2015. Interim results from this Phase II/III trial and final results from the prior Phase II trial for CF101 in psoriasis were both positive.

Seeing the knee in a new light: Fluorescent probe tracks osteoarthritis development

A fluorescent probe may make it easier to diagnose and monitor osteoarthritis, a painful joint disease affecting nearly 27 million Americans. The disease is often detected late in development after painful symptoms occur. Earlier diagnosis might lead to better management and patient outcomes. A new study reports that a fluorescent probe tracked the development of osteoarthritis in male mice, brightening as the disease progressed. The findings are published in the February issue of Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Shared symptoms of Chikungunya virus, rheumatoid arthritis may cloud diagnosis

A mosquito-borne virus that has spread to the Caribbean and Central and South America and has caused isolated infections in Florida often causes joint pain and swelling similar to that seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis also found that blood tests of patients with the Chikungunya virus and those with rheumatoid arthritis can produce similar results. This may lead some patients with the virus to be misdiagnosed.

The findings, reported in the January issue of Arthritis and Rheumatology, underscore the need for doctors to obtain detailed travel and medical histories from patients being evaluated for rheumatoid arthritis. Such details could help distinguish between the two conditions.

Researchers develop optimised PSA screening programme for prostate cancer

As an indicator of prostate cancer, the PSA test is regarded in urology as highly controversial since it is not always unequivocal. A team of researchers from the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital has now developed a programme that compensates the shortfalls of PSA screening with methods from personalised medicine. As a result, prostate cancer screening is able to reach a new level of quality.

Do Patients and Family Stall End-of Life-Care Talks?

Action Points

  • Hospital-based clinicians in Canada cite patients and family members as the greatest barriers to goals of care and end-of-life decision making in seriously ill patients.
  • Hospital-based clinicians rate their own communication skills and system factors as relatively less significant barriers to goals of care and end-of-life decision making.

Patients and their family members were cited as the biggest barriers to end-of-life decision making, according to a survey of hospital-based physicians and nurses.

No Relief for Painful Knees

Action Points

  • Note that this large, cross-sectional study of European patients with knee osteoarthritis found that a significant percentage reported inadequate pain relief.
  • Be aware that opioid use was associated with a greater likelihood of inadequate pain relief.

Inadequate pain relief (IPR) is widespread among patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA), especially women, those with depression or diabetes, and those who have had the disease for a long time, according to a new prospective, longitudinal cohort study.