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New in Body Treatments (page 32 of 33)

Dec
12
2006

Massage May Help Knee Osteoarthritis

Knees hurt? Massage may cut the pain and improve function if you have knee osteoarthritis, a new study shows.

Massage therapy "seems to be a viable option" as an addition to other treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee, write the researchers.

Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is mainly seen in older adults. In osteoarthritis, joints are damaged as cartilage, the joints' shock absorbers, wears down.

Osteoarthritis often affects the knees, making it hard to walk. The disease can become disabling.

Massage might improve joint flexibility and circulation, note the researchers, including Adam Perlman, MD, MPH, and David Katz, MD, MPH.

Perlman works at the Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Katz is on staff at Yale University's medical school.

"Massage is free of any known side effects and, according to our results, clearly shows therapeutic promise," Katz says in a Yale news release.

Massage Study
The massage study focused on Swedish massage, the most widely available type in the U.S.

Swedish massage uses long strokes, kneading, and tapping techniques to target the muscles closest to the skin.

The study included 68 knee osteoarthritis patients who were at least 35 years old (average age: 66-70).

Most were white women. All lived in northern New Jersey and had X-rays confirming a knee osteoarthritis diagnosis.

First, patients rated their knee pain, stiffness, and function. Then, they were split into two similar groups.

For a month, patients in one group got two weekly Swedish massages, followed by a month of weekly Swedish massages. Each massage lasted an hour.

For comparison, patients in the other group waited two months before getting the same massage treatment.

After eight weeks of massage, patients reported less knee pain and stiffness and better knee function.

"Massage therapy seems to be efficacious in the treatment of OA [osteoarthritis] of the knee," write the researchers.

They call for further studies on other types of massage and the cost-effectiveness of massage treatment.

By Miranda Hitti, WebMD Medical News, December 11, 2006

Dec
11
2006

Carbon Dioxide Laser Can Be Safe for Neck Resurfacing

When it comes to treating the aging face, patients have their pick of numerous laser therapies for successful skin rejuvenation. But finding an effective treatment for the delicate skin of the neck can often be a real pain in the neck. Now, a retrospective review presented in a recent issue of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, the journal of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, finds that a skilled practitioner can successfully resurface an aging and photodamaged neck using the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) laser if a series of treatment parameters are strictly followed.

In her article entitled “Safe and Effective Carbon Dioxide Laser Skin Resurfacing of the Neck,” laser expert Suzanne D. Kilmer, MD, of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Northern California, Sacramento, CA, outlines three key components essential to effective laser resurfacing of the neck with the CO2 laser that she and her colleagues have used to safely treat more than 1,000 patients over the past 10 years.              

“We have found that for the CO2 laser to work safely and effectively on the neck, 1) the skin has to be sufficiently hydrated with a pre-operative topical anesthesia; 2) the laser has to be administered at a low density with only a single pass; and 3) the treated epidermis must not be wiped following the procedure,” explains Dr. Kilmer. “These three ingredients, in a sense, make up the ‘recipe’ for how to safely use the CO2 laser for neck resurfacing. And like all recipes, every step must be followed and all the ingredients must be added properly for the end result to turn out right.”

In order to adequately hydrate the skin prior to the laser procedure, Dr. Kilmer recommends that patients wash their entire face and neck with hot water and then immediately apply a thick layer—like frosting on a cake—of the topical anesthesia EMLA. The area is then sealed using a plastic wrap, and this process is repeated 45 minutes before the procedure. Dr. Kilmer notes that proper hydration is critical, as it “plumps up” the skin and creates a protective buffer against the laser that also aids in absorbing the laser’s energy.

During a typical laser skin resurfacing of the face with the CO2 laser, the epidermis is completely removed. For neck resurfacing, the laser energy is lowered so the epidermis is not removed and stays intact. This low density coupled with a single pass of the laser creates less trauma and less wounding on the neck. Dr. Kilmer points out that while the face would normally be wiped to remove the epidermal debris following the procedure, it is important not to wipe the treated epidermis from the neck because it serves as a natural dressing that protects the skin and aids in the healing process.

“Most of our patients that undergo CO2 laser skin resurfacing on their face also get their neck done at the same time,” says Dr. Kilmer. “Performing both procedures helps to blend the results, eliminating the noticeable line of demarcation that usually occurs when the neck is left untreated.”

While non-ablative laser treatment for skin rejuvenation has gained in popularity during the past few years, Dr. Kilmer notes that the CO2 laser produces longer-lasting results than its non-invasive counterparts and only a single treatment session is needed instead of a series of treatment sessions.

“As with any procedure, patients need to be informed of the potential risks, how much downtime is involved, and the importance of post-operative care before undergoing CO2 laser resurfacing,” adds Dr. Kilmer.  “But for any single resurfacing treatment, the CO2 laser delivers the most overall improvement—hands down.”

Patients with a personal or immediate family history of vitiligo are not considered candidates for this procedure, as laser resurfacing can trigger depigmentation of the treated area consistent with this condition.

Dec
08
2006

Tea Extracts Repair Radiotherapy Skin Damage

Findings from a new study confirm that tea extracts applied to the skin promote the repair of damage from radiotherapy, and shed light on the mechanisms involved in the injury...

Nov
17
2006

Duct Tape for Warts? Maybe Not

Finally, there may be something duct tape can't fix: the lowly wart.

Despite claims in an earlier study, covering warts with duct tape may not make them vanish faster after all, say Dutch researchers, including Maastricht University's Marloes de Haen, MD.

The Dutch researchers had heard of a study in which duct tape showed promise as a home remedy for warts -- the skin infections caused by the human papillomavirus.

So de Haen's team conducted their own study, now published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The study included 103 Dutch kids aged 4-12 who had at least one wart.

For six weeks, half the children wore duct tape over one of their warts, while the rest wore corn pads over one of theirs.

Once a week, the children uncovered the wart, soaked it in warm water for five minutes, then rubbed the wart gently with a pumice stone.

During the study, the warts covered by duct tape were only slightly more likely to heal than those covered by corn pads.

"After six weeks, the wart had disappeared in 16% of the children in the duct tape group, compared with 6% in the placebo [corn pad] group," the researchers write.

That margin was so slim that it may have been due to chance, de Haen's team says.

Most of the kids in the duct tape group -- 81% -- said the tape didn't stick well to their skin. And 15% reported skin irritations, including rashesrashes.

"Further research with longer follow-up would only be useful with a tape that is better sticking," write the researchers.

By Miranda Hitti, WebMD Medical News, November 8, 2006

Nov
09
2006

Massage Helps Babies Sleep

Good news for sleepless new parents—research shows that massage helps newborn babies sleep more and cry less.

Massage also lowers stress levels in infants and helps the bonding process with the parent, it was claimed.

The study found that infants under six months who received massage also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to babies who had not.

A team of researchers from Warwick Medical School and the Institute of Education at the University of Warwick looked at nine massage studies covering 598 babies under six months old.

Babies were massaged by parents who had been trained by health professionals and the infants who received massage were found to have beneficial effects.

One of the studies found that massage could affect the release of the sleep hormone melatonin, helping babies' sleeping patterns.

Another showed that babies in an orphanage who usually had little tactile stimulation grew faster, were less ill and had less clinical visits when they were given massage, made eye contact with and spoken to.

The researchers also found that massage built better relationships between babies and mothers who had postnatal depression.

Angela Underdown, who led the research, said: "Given the apparent effect of infant massage on stress hormones, it is not surprising to find some evidence of an effect on sleep and crying.

"It gives parents and babies intimate time. We haven't said that it should be on offer to everyone, but massage does no harm, and it improves a number of factors. It seems to have some effect on sleep and relaxation.

"We looked at babies under six months because that's when parents and babies are forming their attachments and babies are forming their sleep patterns."

Life Style Extra, November 8, 2006

Oct
26
2006

Dual Drug Therapy Effective Against Pemphigus Vulgaris

A new combination treatment offers hope to people who have the blistering, potentially fatal skin disease known as pemphigus vulgaris.

By combining the cancer-fighting drug rituximab with intravenous immune globulin, Harvard doctors have discovered a therapy that can effectively treat people with cases of pemphigus vulgaris that haven't responded to other treatments.

"We got a home run with this combination," said study co-author Dr. Marshall Posner, medical director of the head and neck oncology program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

"These patients were extremely ill and on multiple medications," he said. "This therapy resulted in complete eradication of the disease for nine patients." The remaining two patients in the study required additional doses of the treatment before they, too, went into remission. All of those involved in the study had sustained remissions, some as long as 37 months, by the end of the study.

Results of the study are published in the Oct. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Pemphigus vulgaris is a rare autoimmune disease that causes the skin cells to stop adhering to one another. Blisters and lesions form, usually beginning in the mouth and then spreading to the skin.

"Before the discovery of corticosteroids, it was fatal within five years. People lost the surface of their skin, and died horrible deaths," explained Dr. John Stanley, chairman of the department of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "This is an instructive disease about the power of the immune system. While it's usually used for good, it can actually destroy you."

Stanley co-authored a review article in the same issue of the journal about pemphigus and other dermatological diseases.

Currently, the first line of treatment for this devastating skin condition is prednisone, a corticosteroid. While it's often an effective treatment, it has numerous side effects that can be serious, so people generally can't stay on high doses for a long time. Other medications used are immune-suppressing agents that also carry the risk of serious side effects, such as infection.

Posner said most deaths from pemphigus occur as a result of immune-system suppression. But without suppressing the immune system, people with pemphigus would continue to develop blisters and erosions in their skin, giving bacteria an easy entry into the body.

Another treatment option is intravenous immune globulin. This option is usually reserved for those who don't respond to the other treatment options. Stanley said scientists aren't sure how this therapy works, but it may be that it replaces the immune-system antibodies that are attacking the skin cells with healthy antibodies.

For most people, these treatments options have proved lifesaving, and people with the disease often do well, said Stanley.

However, there are people who don't respond to any of the currently available treatments. And, the 11 people treated in the new Harvard study fell into that category. None of the available treatments had worked for them, and the disease was covering more than 30 percent of their body's surface area.

Each study volunteer received two cycles of rituximab weekly for three weeks. During the fourth week, they received a dose of intravenous immune globulin. Then, they received monthly infusions of both rituximab and IV immune globulin for four months.

During the initial treatment, nine of the 11 study participants went into remission for an average of 32 months. The remaining two required additional treatments about six months after treatment, but subsequently went back into remission.

While previous research on rituximab has sometimes found serious side effects, such as allergic reaction, Posner said there were virtually no side effects seen in this trial.

He said he thinks this drug combination would likely be helpful in less severe cases of pemphigus vulgaris, and he added that it could potentially be useful for treating other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus and type 1 diabetes.

"This therapy offers hope for this disease, and it could lead the way to treatment for other diseases that have a big impact on people's lives -- it needs to be investigated in other diseases so we can see how it works in other situations," Posner said.

Stanley said he doubted that rituximab would become a first-line treatment for pemphigus vulgaris anytime soon because the medication is quite costly and insurance companies would likely balk at paying for an expensive drug that isn't FDA approved specifically for treating pemphigus. The problem, he added, is that because pemphigus is so rare, it would be difficult to conduct a large enough trial to get such approval.

But, Posner suggested that while the rituximab/immune globulin combination treatment is more expensive initially, a cost analysis comparing all of the costs, including hospitalizations, might find the combination treatment is the cheaper alternative in the long run.

By Serena Gordon, HealthDay Reporter, October 26, 2006

Oct
24
2006

Ethnic Skin Care

By: Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD

Discover the unique skin care challenges of various ethnic skin types and about some treatment options.

Oct
20
2006

New Study Indicates Massage Reduces Hand Arthritis Pain

Massage therapy is effective in reducing hand pain and increasing grip strength, according to a new study funded by Biotone and conducted by the Touch Research Institutes (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Fla.

Arthritis is a systemic inflammatory disease, frequently located in the small joints of the hands. It affects the active, working-age population as well as the elderly, causing pain, activity limitations, and a lower quality of life. Many daily activities, for example, require considerable hand strength, such as opening doors, opening jar lids, lifting and carrying items. Hand strength in patients with arthritis is 75 percent lower than in healthy patients.

“While massage therapy has decreased pain in several pain syndromes, including fibromyalgia, lower back pain and migraine, this is the first report of pain reduction in hand arthritis following massage therapy,” said Dr. Tiffany Field, TRI director. “Up to now, many other interventions to alleviate hand pain have been tried -- medications, physical therapy and various forms of exercise. The results of this study are very encouraging for the application of massage therapy as a complementary alternative treatment for hand arthritis.”

Under the study, 22 adults ranging in age from 20 to 65 with wrist/hand arthritis were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or a standard treatment control group. The massage therapy group received massage on the affected wrist/hand once a week for a four-week period and also conducted self-massage on the wrist/hand at home daily. Biotone Polar Lotion was used in the massage therapy. The standard treatment control group did not receive massage therapy during the study. 

The massage therapy group had lower anxiety and depressed mood scores after the first and last sessions, and by the end of the study reported less pain and greater grip strength. The massage therapy group showed greater improvement than the standard treatment control group on all of these measures across the study period.

“Biotone continues to fund research regarding the different effects of massage therapy on consumer's health and well being," said Jean Shea, Biotone founder and CEO. “The arthritis, breast cancer and back pain studies we funded all have shown positive results that are very encouraging. Our research studies, in addition to the many others being conducted worldwide, provide increased awareness and acceptance of massage therapy as an effective complementary alternative treatment."

Biotone is supporting two research projects through the Massage Therapy Foundation for 2006. The research studies involve therapeutic massage for pediatric burn survivors and the effects of five minute foot massages on pediatric Intensive Care Unit patients. More information will be available soon.

Sep
27
2006

Compulsive Skin Picking

By Judi Bailey

Learn more about identifying this disorder and helping clients who demonstrate its symptoms.

Sep
08
2006

Eczema Rates Stabilizing in U.K.

Rates of eczema and hay fever in the United Kingdom appear to have stabilized, after charting a steady rise over recent decades.

However, the study also found that rates of systemic allergic reactions -- including the severe condition known as anaphylaxis -- have surged in the past 20 years.

The researchers analyzed data gathered from numerous sources: national surveys, primary care doctors, prescription and hospital admission records, and death records.

Over the past three decades, diagnoses of allergic rhinitis and eczema in children have tripled, but there appears to have been a recent decrease in the prevalence of symptoms. Hospital admissions for eczema have stabilized since 1995, the researchers found, while admissions for allergic rhinitis have decreased to about 40 percent of their 1990 levels.

Between 1971 and 1991, the number of consultations with family doctors about hay fever increased by 260 percent and by 150 percent for eczema. However, these rates have stabilized in the past 10 years, the study said.

Hospital admissions for anaphylaxis have soared by 700 percent, for food allergy by 500 percent, and for the skin allergy urticaria by 100 percent.

Prescriptions for all types of allergies have increased since 1991.

The researchers said that some of the trends could be related to changes in medical practice and care but could also be explained by changes in the sources of allergic disease.

The study was published in the current issue of Thorax.

HealthDay News, September 7, 2006