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Blog home | January 2014 »

December 2013

The holiday season can be incredibly busy for many of us. It becomes harder when managing pain with all the different tasks that need to be done! Here are a few tips to help you through this season.

Planning
Plan out your day! There are times of the day where you feel better. So plan your days so that strenuous activities are done when you feel your best.

Catering
Consider catering meals for gatherings you host. This way you won’t have to spend ages standing around cooking a large meal.

Decorating
Start decorating early or do it with other people. It is still fun to decorate but it means that you could do a little bit at a time without tiring yourself out. If you get to do it with other people, you could let them reach high up to place decorations.

Online Shopping
Consider online shopping to get gifts. Many places have a cut-off date to order gifts, but some places will allow you to order things online and pick them up in store. This stops you from having to walk about a really crowded shopping centre. (Extra tip!! Most shopping centres have a gift wrapping station for you to get that out of the way too!)

Happy Holidays Everyone!
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Try as hard as you’d like but there is no denying it; Stem cells are a miracle. At least that’s what we should believe with the media’s take on them.

Stem cells are a building block in our body which have the ability to become the many different types of specialised cells we need to function. In fact, they are the cell type that develops a baby from that single cell to a little human who can scream! If that wasn't reason enough for stem cells to be miracles, scientists have discovered and are starting to understand that we can still get these cells from adults for reparative uses in the very same person. This sounds amazing! These cells from adults that scientist are investigating are simply known as adult stem cells and can be extracted from a variety of sources including the bone marrow, fatty tissue and blood. A long known use for stem cells has been to help treat leukaemia but now stem cells are being touted as a treatment for a wide variety of diseases; from autism to healing hearts and even plastic surgery.

In the world of Rheumatology, stem cells are being examined as a way to repair the damaged knee or hip. The basic concept behind it is quite simple. A small amount of fatty tissue (a rich source of stem cells) will be removed from a patient. The tissue is then processed to extract the valuable stem cells which are then injected into the knee. The theory is that the stem cells will differentiate into specific cell types found in the knee which should improve the structure and combat the inflammation that causes the damage. According to StemCells Australia (http://www.stemcellsaustralia.edu.au/About-Stem-Cells/Stem-Cell-Clinical-Trials/Orthopaedic-conditions/Osteoarthritis.aspx), there are only 7 osteoarthritis clinical trials happening in the world; 3 of which are in Australia. A few experimental models of osteoarthritis have been subjected to this treatment with great success and early results from trials done in humans show promising results.

However, the truth is, at this stage, there are still many gaps in our knowledge about the use of stem cells to improve outcomes in osteoarthritis. We don’t know how it really works, which patients might be more or less likely to benefit, or what volume of stem cells we need to make changes, and so on. We don’t know how long the effects will last; if they are temporary or will last for decades. We don’t know whether there will be longer term side effects or what factors can prevent the expected effects from stem cells.

Stem cells are indeed an exciting prospect for the treatment of arthritis but we still have lots of questions that need answers. Answers we can only obtain through properly controlled clinical research trials.

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