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Stomach-narrowing surgery eases chronic knee pain

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WASHINGTON — Stomach-narrowing surgery does not just augment your beauty but also aids in easing the chronic knee pain, according to a NYU School Of Medicine-led study.

The pain, according to the study leaders at NYU School of Medicine, proceeds from the deterioration and related inflammation in knee joints caused in part by the extra weight they bear.

And, while the pain relief seen with lap-band surgery applied to all patients with osteoarthritic knees, researchers found that it was most helpful in the youngest men and women who lost the most weight.

“Our study shows that extremely obese people seeking relief from their knee pain should consider lap-band surgery earlier because the benefits from it being successful — although significant for all ages — decrease with age,” said study senior investigator, Jonathan Samuels,Associate Professor at NYU School of Medicine.

For the study, published in the journal Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, researchers examined 120 patients who underwent lap-band surgery between 2002 and 2015.

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Samuels said it is likely that knee joints and cartilage become so damaged after a certain point that there is little cushion left for weight loss to preserve. Along these lines, the research team found that people in their 40s reported nearly twice as much pain relief after lap-band as those who had the surgery in their 50s.

More than 130,000 Americans have had the procedure done since 2011, national statistics show. Although the operation is considered relatively safe, complications may include nausea, stomach ulcers, and infection.

The study authors said their findings are especially important because one in three American adults is now overweight. Studies also showed that the number of Americans with osteoarthritis has more than doubled since World War II.

The new analysis was based on the experiences of 120 patients at NYU Langone Health who underwent lap-band surgery between 2002 and 2015. All were surveyed about what they remembered about their knee pain immediately before surgery, a year after their procedure, and for as long as 14 years later.

The main purpose of the survey, researchers said, was to find out why some extremely obese people showed more knee-pain relief from lap-band surgery than others.

Study participants had an average body mass index, or BMI, of 40, which equates to a 5 feet and 10 inches-tall man who weighs about 280 pounds, or a 5 foot 6 inches-tall woman who weighs 250 pounds.

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According to the survey results, men and women in their 40s experienced postsurgical knee pain reductions after one year of between 50 percent and 60 percent; while those in their 50s, one year later, had pain reductions between 30 percent and 40 percent; and those in their 60s, had reductions between 20 percent and 30 percent. Pain relief persisted for a decade in all patients monitored.

Results also showed that BMI at the time of surgery did not influence whose knee pain went down the most. People with BMIs in the upper 40s were just as likely to report decreased knee pain as people with BMIs in the lower 40s if they lost proportionally the same amount of total body weight.

With Agency Inputs

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Diabetes drug might ease heart failure risk

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A new research has showed that the diabetes drug Farxiga might do double-duty for patients, helping to ward off another killer, heart failure.

According to the findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with their presentation at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago, Type 2 diabetics who took Farxiga saw their odds of hospitalization for heart failure drop by 27 percent compared to those who took a placebo.

Farxiga is a type of drug called a SGLT2 inhibitor. The compound is called dapagliflozin.

The study included more than 17,000 type 2 diabetes patients aged 40 and older. Nearly 7,000 had heart disease and more than 10,000 had numerous risk factors for heart disease, Wiviott’s group said.

Patients were randomly assigned to take a dummy placebo pill or 10 milligrams of Farxiga each day.

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“When it comes to helping our patients control and manage blood glucose, the ‘how’ appears to be as important [as] the ‘how much,” said study author Dr Stephen Wiviott, a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“When choosing a therapy, trial results like these can help us make an informed decision about what treatments are not only safe and effective for lowering blood glucose but can also reduce risk of heart and kidney complications,” Wiviott said in a hospital news release.

Taking the drug did not reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular-related death, the research team noted. However, patients who took the drug did see healthy declines in their blood sugar levels, plus an added bonus: a 27 percent decrease in their risk of hospitalization for heart failure.

Their risk of kidney failure and death from kidney failure also fell, researchers noted.

Two other recent studies of this class of drugs show that they “robustly and consistently improve heart and kidney outcomes in a broad population of patients with diabetes,” Wiviott noted.

With Inputs from HealthDay

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