Arthritis Today Magazine Boasts New Website

Arthritis Today Website

I recently took a self-guided tour of the new Arthritis Today website and I must say, I’m very impressed! I think the site has the potential to be one of the top resources for people diagnosed with arthritis.

A few features that I liked:

The Tin Mom’s Blog: I’m glad ArthritisToday.org has a featured blogger who will share her stories on a bi-weekly basis. Reading about someone else’s struggle and success is comforting and inspiring.

Your Great Ideas: This is an excellent feature. I love reading about how people have handled a situation that I have been in. It’s great to get different perspectives on things. I hope that the web editors soon begin to categorize the items posted in this feature to make it even more useful to sift through what will probably turn out to be a massive archive.

Web Extras: It looks like each magazine issue will feature content that is exclusive to the website. Cool.

Exercise Videos: An email I received about the website touts 40 free exercise videos. I checked out a couple and found them brief, but very useful. Photos of exercises are sometimes just not enough for me to figure out how to properly execute a specific exercise. If photos are more your style, those are offered, too.

Community:
I love that there is a community aspect built into nearly every part of the website, allowing for further discussions of the material presented. Leave comments after most articles, tips, blog posts, etc.

I can’t determine if there will be an archive of older issues or if they will only keep two issues online at a time. Currently, portions of the March/April and May/June issues can be found on the site. I hope they decide to build an archive of all issues, going forward.

The information available on the website is varied and hits all the major topics that I think people with arthritis would be interested in reading about on a regular basis. I look forward to watching their content grow!

One more note, then I’ll let you go explore… Not all content from the current issue is posted online, but that’s okay. I’m sure a lot of the content that is featured in various categories on the site was, at one time, featured in the magazine. I like that the website offers something more enhanced from what you can get in a single copy of the magazine. And I think the ability to interact with the content and with other people via this website will make it quite popular.

Go check it out and leave your thoughts below about what you liked or didn’t like.

Great News! Arthritis Act to be Introduced Again

American FlagUpdate from Arthritis.org:

The 111th Congress began on January 6, 2009, and all legislation not signed into law before that date must be introduced again.  The Arthritis Foundation is very pleased to announce that Representatives Anna Eshoo of California and Fred Upton of Michigan plan to introduce the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act in the coming weeks.  They will introduce the same legislation that unanimously passed the House of Representatives in September 2008.  Since it is a new Congress, there will be a new bill number once it is introduced. 

Before it is even introduced on the House floor, YOUR Representative has an opportunity to indicate their support of this critical legislation by joining Reps. Eshoo and Upton as an original cosponsor.  Please contact your House of Representative member and ask him/her to be an original cosponsor of the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act of 2009.

Find out how you can take action, by clicking here.

New Osteoporosis Research: Serotonin Could Control Bone Formation

Most treatments for Osteoporosis only slow bone loss, but a new finding may provide new hope for the 10 million Americans who live with this disease. Turns out serotonin could play a very important role in bone formation.

The New York Times reports:

At its heart is serotonin made by the gut rather than the brain, whose role outside the brain had been a mystery. Ninety-five percent of the body’s serotonin is made by the gut, but gut serotonin cannot enter the brain because it is barred by a membrane, the so-called blood-brain barrier.

Dr. Karsenty reports, though, that gut serotonin can directly control bone formation. It is released into the blood, and the more serotonin that reaches bone, the more bone is lost. Conversely, the less serotonin, the denser and stronger bones become. Dr. Karsenty was even able to prevent menopause-induced osteoporosis in mice by slowing serotonin production.

Osteoporosis researchers were dumbfounded by the report.

Those same experts are quick to caution that while exciting, this research is "basic" — it was done in mice that were "engineered to have human genes." Researchers remain hopeful about the research that could follow that would drastically change the way Osteoporosis is treated.

Bone Finding May Point to Hope for Osteoporosis [via The New York Times]

Tales Of An Arthritis Blogger

Hey gang, apologies for my sporadic posting lately. It seems that after I came down with a virus in September that I have not been good about getting myself back on a regular posting schedule. I think it’s a combination of simply being quite busy and also feeling spent at the end of the day. I come home from working eight hours and just want to veg, but then, of course, feel bad about just vegging because there are twenty other things I “should” be doing. It’s not like someone is standing over me, wagging their finger saying, “Sheryl, you should be cleaning your kitchen.” It’s always my voice that just can’t seem to give myself a break. Argh, I think I will be working on managing (and talking back to) that voice for the rest of my life. I digress…

The good news is, I’m back in action and committed to resuming my regular postings. Please feel free to join the discussion and comment. I’d love to hear from you!

New Drug Gets An Approval Recomendation For Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Actemra, a new treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis received an approval recommendation by a government advisory panel last week. Made by Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc., Actemra is a biologic drug that would be administered to patients by infusion. A final decision from the FDA is expected in mid-September.

According to Reuters:

Actemra works differently from other drugs on the market in that it blocks interleukin-6 (IL-6), an immune-system protein involved in inflammation. Other widely used drugs block a protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF).
Committee members said Actemra’s ability to relieve symptoms outweighed potential risks, but some urged tracking of patients’ liver function and cholesterol levels.

It’s always good to have new options!

Read the full Reuters article here.

UK Is Not NICE To Arthritis Patients

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) had decided that NHS (National Health Service) arthritis patients in England and Wales can only try one anti-TNF drug. Yes, you read that correctly. Doctors will only get one shot at prescribing the “right” anti-TNF therapy for each of their patients. No pressure there.

Say that one drug is Remicade. If Remicade does not work for a patient or loses its effectiveness over time, people in the UK will not be allowed to try a second TNF inhibitor therapy, such as Enbrel or Humira. Knowing how Enbrel and other anti-TNFs have been life-changing drugs for me and my arthritis friends, this information in this news article really disturbs me.

NICE said that giving patients two, or even three, anti-TNFs is not cost-effective and that doctors should offer patients the next drug in line – rituximab – which costs about £3,000 less per year than the cheapest anti-TNF.

However, around a quarter of patients do not gain any benefit from rituximab.

WTF?

Charities and patient groups are planning to appeal the ruling before the draft guidance is approved in the fall.

I have a lot of complaints about the U.S. health care system, but this definitely makes me appreciate our system a lot more. What do you think of this ruling?

Plan to Curb Arthritis Drug Use

Welcome, Friend!

Hi. I’m Sheryl. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 25. I’m now 36. I suppose you could say this blog has been 11 years in the making, but it wasn’t until the last year or so that found myself thinking seriously about creating an online residence where arthritis warriors of all ages could visit for wellness tips, health hacks and gadget reviews. This year, I decided to put my keyboard where my mouth is and set this idea in motion.

You are looking straight into the eyes of the result: ArthritisFriend.com (aka your new BFF).

Now, I’m not a doctor and I don’t have a medical degree. My knowledge comes from having lived with RA for the last decade of my life. Learning about my condition and, more importantly, how to live with arthritis has been a bumpy road that at times has left me feeling scared and alone. I know I am not the only one out there that has felt like this. There are 46 million people (self-reported, doctor-diagnosed) living with arthritis-related diseases, with more being diagnosed each year, at every age.

I’ve collected a lot of information over the years and had countless experiences that I plan to share as a person living with arthritis, but I know I don’t know everything. I am also counting on you to offer your thoughts and hacks. We don’t have to go through this alone. Let’s help each other out!

I invite you to…
Participate in the discussion. Start the discussion. Email me your own tips, topic ideas and favorite tools. Make your friends laugh with a “Pre-Existing Conditions Suck” T-shirt. Be a wallflower. Be who you are.

To paraphrase that famous quote from Casablanca, I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Thanks for stopping by my place.