A single push can treat back pain. In a new study, 120 patients with back pain caused by intervertebral disc problems are being injected with lactic acid – a syrupy substance found in sour milk that occurs naturally in our bodies.
The researchers say the impact makes the intervertebral discs, which sit between the bones (vertebrae) of the spine, harder and more resilient – and could eliminate the need for surgery for many.
The researchers say the impact makes the intervertebral discs, which sit between the bones (vertebrae) of the spine, harder and more resilient – and could eliminate the need for surgery for many
Discs act as shock absorbers, but they also provide flexibility for the spine to move and prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against each other. They consist of an outer ring of tough connective tissue and a gel-like center.
When the intervertebral discs degenerate with age, cracks can appear in the outer shell, causing instability between the bones and causing tension and pain in the surrounding joints and muscles.
As the disc continues to degenerate, the gel-like center can bulge, compressing the nerves and causing inflammation and pain.
Treatment options range from pain medication and physical therapy to steroid injections and surgery to remove the damaged disc or to fuse the spine.
Lactic acid is a natural by-product of energy production in the body – it builds up in the muscles after exercise and is said to make them ache.
Its use for back pain relief is based on the idea that it promotes collagen development, which makes the intervertebral disc harder and more resilient. Orthopedic surgeons have long reported that patients with back pain due to intervertebral disc problems often experience less pain as they age because the collagen in the intervertebral disks becomes harder with age and the intervertebral disks can better support the spine.
Lactic acid is a natural by-product of energy production in the body – it builds up in the muscles after exercise and is said to make them ache
But these changes take decades, and the theory is that lactic acid injection will have the same effect – but in weeks.
Animal studies have shown that just a month after the injection, the center of the intervertebral discs were replaced with dense fibrous tissue as the collagen solidified.
A small study of 15 patients at the Stockholm Spine Center in Sweden found no serious safety issues, and MRIs suggested that the intervertebral discs became tighter after the stab.
In the new study in hospitals in the Netherlands, Spain and Russia, patients are given a sting or a placebo. The researchers estimate that the benefits will be felt within four to 12 weeks, and hopefully will last the patient’s entire life.
Ian Harding, orthopedic consultant at the North Bristol NHS Trust, comments on the study: “Back pain is caused by a wide variety of diagnoses, a minority of which is caused by the disc itself. Any treatment that can help and avoid more invasive, high-risk treatments needs to be explored.
“Studies like this can lead to large studies and a better understanding of the problem.”
Concentrated puffs of blood can be an effective treatment for back pain, according to a review of the research in the Journal of Pain Research.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is made from blood that is spun in a centrifuge to separate platelets, a portion of blood that contains growth-stimulating compounds.
Doctors from Yeungnam University in South Korea evaluated the results of three studies in which the injections were used for back pain caused by problems with the discs between the bones of the spine.
They concluded, “PRP injections had great pain relieving and function-enhancing effects in patients with disc-related lower back pain.”
It is believed that the high growth factors in PRP stimulate the process of tissue repair and healing.
Dry skin condition associated with common bacteria
A recent discovery related to the itchy skin condition of atopic dermatitis offers the prospect of new treatments.
Experiments at Trinity College Dublin showed that the condition spreads when a bacterium (Staphylococcus aureus) binds to a protein in the skin called human corneodesmosine. This causes the bacteria to spread and creates the itchy, red rash in a process that appears to take place on dead skin cells.
Atopic dermatitis is currently treated with creams, but there is hope that understanding how the bacterium spreads will help develop new treatments.
Researchers are investigating a drug commonly used to treat diarrhea as a potential cancer treatment. A study by Goethe University in Germany shows that loperamide, which slows the movement of food through the intestines, can also trigger a stress response in brain cancer cells that leads to death, reports the journal Autophagy.
Can fibroid surgery help women conceive?
Can fibroid removal increase a woman’s chances of having a baby?
That’s the idea behind new research to see if smaller fibroids (made of fibrous connective tissue, which affect up to 40 percent of women) and endometrial polyps (which form from the lining of the uterus and affect up to 20 percent of women) are linked to infertility.
In a Sheffield University study of 1,120 women being treated for infertility and recurrent miscarriages, doctors will assess whether a hysteroscopy, a procedure to remove these growths, can help these women conceive.
Paws for thought
We can pass the health problems on to our pets. This week: stress
According to a study of 58 dogs published in the journal Scientific Reports, pet owners with higher levels of stress have dogs with higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
“Being a pack animal means dogs are really good at reading the body language and emotional state of other pack members, and domestication has made dogs experts at absorbing human emotions,” explains Dr. Jan Hoole, a pet behavior specialist at Keele University.
How do you protect your dog? “Routine can be very important to dogs, so try to stick to your normal exercise and nutrition plan,” says Dr. Hooligan. “Calm behavior on your part can help too.”
While the 2019 study didn’t look at cats, they are also very sensitive to the atmosphere, she adds – but, unlike dogs, they usually undress until the stress is gone.
If there’s anything you need to remember, read it over before you go to bed. Loughborough University researchers suggest that the temporarily stored memories are reactivated during sleep to consolidate and improve memory.
To test this, ask the volunteers to study multiplication tables before bed and check their knowledge in the morning and compare it to their results the night before.
If there’s anything you need to remember, read it over before you go to bed. Loughborough University researchers suggest that the temporarily stored memories are reactivated during sleep