Tag Archives: rheumatoid arthritis

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UA Study Shows Glucosamine Is Ineffective

A short-term study led by C. Kent Kwoh, MD, director of the University of Arizona Arthritis Center, and a collaborative team of researchers has found that oral glucosamine supplementation is not associated with a lessening of knee cartilage deterioration among individuals with chronic knee pain.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Boston University, Texas Woman’s University in Houston and Klinikum Augsburg in Augsburg, Germany. Dr. Kwoh, who previously was with the University of Pittsburgh and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, is corresponding author of the study.

“Our study found no evidence that drinking a glucosamine supplement reduced knee cartilage damage, relieved pain or improved function in individuals with chronic knee pain,” said Dr. Kwoh. An internationally recognized expert in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other joint diseases, he also is UA professor of medicine and medical imaging, The Charles A.L. and Suzanne M. Stephens Chair of Rheumatology, and chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.

The findings, published online March 11 in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), indicate that glucosamine does not decrease pain or improve knee bone marrow lesions—more commonly known as bone bruises and thought to be a source of pain in those with osteoarthritis (OA).

According to the ACR, 27 million Americans over age 25 are diagnosed with OA—the most common form of arthritis and primary cause of disability in the elderly. Patients may seek alternative therapies to treat joint pain and arthritis, with prior research showing glucosamine as the second-most commonly used natural product. A 2007 Gallup poll reported that 10 percent of individuals over the age of 18 in the United States use glucosamine. According to the website www.nutraingredients-usa.com, global sales of the supplement in 2010 totaled more than $2.1 billion.

“The Joints on Glucosamine (Jog) Study: The Effect of Oral Glucosamine on Joint Structure, A Randomized Trial” is the first study to investigate whether the supplement prevents the worsening of cartilage damage or bone marrow lesions.

For the double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, Dr. Kwoh and colleagues enrolled 201 participants with mild-to-moderate pain in one or both knees. Participants were randomized and treated daily for 24 weeks with 1,500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride in a 16-ounce bottle of diet lemonade or a placebo. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to assess cartilage damage.

Trial results showed no decrease in cartilage damage in participants in the glucosamine group, compared to the placebo group. Researchers report no change in bone marrow lesions in 70 percent of knees, 18 percent of knees worsened and 10 percent improved.

The control group had greater improvement in bone marrow lesions compared to treated participants, with neither group displaying a worsening of bone marrow lesions. Glucosamine was not found to decrease urinary excretion of C-telopeptides of type II collagen (CTX-II)—a predictor of cartilage destruction.

In addition to Dr. Kwoh, researchers who contributed to the study included Ali Guermazi, MD, Boston University; Frank W. Roemer, MD, Boston University, Mass., and Klinikum Augsburg, Augsburg, Germany; Michael J. Hannon, John M. Jakicic, MD, Stephanie M. Green, Rhobert W. Evans, PhD, and Robert Boudreau, PhD, University of Pittsburgh; and Carolyn E. Moore, PhD, Texas Woman’s University, Houston.

The study was funded by the Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness, The Coca-Cola Company and the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (P60 AR054731).

2010 Health Care Leadership Awards

2010 HCLA – Legislative Impact Award And Lifetime Achievement In Research Award

Legislative Impact Award

Honoree: Roy Ryals, Executive Director, Southwest Ambulance

Roy Ryals
Executive Director
Southwest Ambulance

Virtually every pre-hospital care related rule at the Arizona Department of Health Services, and every piece of related state legislation approved in the past 30 years, has something in common — Roy Ryals helped to write it.

Roy Ryals, Executive Director of Southwest Ambulance, 2010 Health Care Leadership Awards

Ryals, executive director for the Southwest region of Southwest Ambulance and Rural/Metro, is considered the pre-hospital regulatory expert and reference point. His knowledge and memory of the history behind decisions, and the far-reaching effects of every word that’s written, has earned him the respect of both the industry and state regulators.

In effect, every patient in Arizona who has used an ambulance over the past 30 years has benefited from Ryals’ intellect and participation in the legislative and regulatory process, whether he’s at the state Capitol, in a board room, or in the back of an ambulance. Ryals has been appointed by four Arizona governors to the Emergency Medical Services Council and was named by three directors of Department of Health Services to the State Trauma Advisory Board.

He is president of the Arizona Ambulance Association and a registered lobbyist with the state. At Southwest Ambulance and Rural/Metro, Ryals is responsible for all contracts, regulatory issues and legislative oversight. He indirectly oversees all field employees through his involvement in medical protocols and regulation for field crews of both companies. He also manages Southwest’s administrative leadership team and legislative consultants. Ryals began his career at Southwest Ambulance in 1987 as the executive director over Arizona medical transport.

Two years later, he was promoted to national director of EMS. In 1991, he became the regional chief operating officer overseeing system integration and regulatory compliance.

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Lifetime Achievement Award

Honoree: Joseph Rodgers, PH.D.

Joseph Rodgers, PH.D., Founder and Senior Scientist
Banner Sun Health Research Institute

Joseph Rogers, Ph.D., the motivating force behind Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, has devoted three decades to finding the cause of and cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But the first work from researchers at the institute did not originate in multimillion-dollar labs or in high-tech facilities; they began their research at a card table with folding chairs.

Joseph Rodgers, Founder and Senior Scientist Banner Sun Health Research Institute, 2010 Health Care Leadership Awards

The institute, a tribute to Rogers’ tireless efforts in the field of Alzheimer’s research, has created opportunities for intensive research into other age-related illnesses, including Parkinson’s disease and arthritis. The discoveries already made at the institute, and those yet to come, promise to have significant benefits for millions around the world. Rogers, the institute’s founder and senior scientist, was recruited in 1986 to develop the research facility.

His qualifications for this breakthrough role include a doctorate from the University of California, San Diego; a postdoctoral fellowship and service as a staff scientist at the Salk Institute; and immediately prior to his arrival in Arizona, he was at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, serving as a principal investigator within the New England Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Harvard University. Rogers made the revolutionary discovery of the damage that inflammation causes to the Alzheimer’s-affected brain. Initially, other scientists scoffed because conventional wisdom precluded the inflammatory process from entering the brain, but Rogers’ discovery changed Alzheimer’s research.

Under Rogers’ leadership, the institute has attracted internationally recognized faculty and scientists, who have made their own compelling discoveries, including a direct linkage between Alzheimer’s and high cholesterol, and a compound of drugs that has promise for significant benefit to those with rheumatoid arthritis. Another key to the institute’s growth is its full-tissue repository, which Rogers initially developed as a brain bank soon after founding the institute.

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