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Synovium front cover

Issue 38 (Spring 2013)

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As the population ages and becomes more sedentary and obese the burden of osteoarthritis is confidently expected to increase exponentially. To date a treatment that slows the progression of OA has been remarkably elusive. Last November colleagues returning from the annual conference of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) were unsurprisingly buzzing following the presentation of a study examining the impact of the osteoporosis treatment strontium ranelate on the progress of mild–moderate OA knee. The study has just been published and is presented below. Also hitting the headlines is the timely update to the ACR guidelines for managing gout, another condition increasing in prevalence due to demographic change. It was an exciting end to an exciting year in rheumatology. 

Adrian Dunbar, Medical Editor

Updated gout guidelines

Worryingly the prevalence of gout is increasing in many populations, due mainly to lifestyle issues, co-morbidities and longevity. Disappointingly the delivery and uptake of medical care for gout remains poor in many places – hence the need for a guideline update.

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‘Fibromyalgia’ – more prevalent than we think?

A recent epidemiological study found that in a random sample of the general population the prevalence of symptoms reported sufficient to satisfy the ACR criteria for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia was 6.4%. This compares with an age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of a formal diagnosis of fibromyalgia of 1.1% in the same population.

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Smoking and back pain

A recent study provides evidence that in patients with spinal disorders smoking is associated with increased experience of back pain and that ‘quitting’ is associated with reduced experience of pain.

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A disease-modifying treatment for osteoarthritis?

The authors of a large, multicentre, double-blind, randomised, controlled trial of strontium ranelate in patients with mild–moderate OA of the knee claim that treatment of the drug could lead to significant reductions in the need for joint replacement surgery.

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Ibuprofen and intestinal injury

It is well known that many sports persons regularly take NSAIDs with the notion that this may reduce the experience of musculoskeletal pain during and after training and competition. This study suggests that this practice should be discouraged.

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