Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fretful and friendless raises risk of dementia

Just untangling the conclusions of this Swedish study was a brain workout in its own right, a downright 'how much wood would a woodchuck chuck..." sort of puzzle:

Neither high neuroticism nor low extraversion alone was related to significantly higher incidence of dementia. However, among people with an inactive or socially isolated lifestyle, low neuroticism was associated with a decreased dementia risk (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.27-0.96). When compared to persons with high neuroticism and high extraversion, a decreased risk of dementia was detected in individuals with low neuroticism and high extraversion (HR = 0.51, 95% CI = 0.28-0.94), but not among persons with low neuroticism and low extraversion (HR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.57-1.60), nor high neuroticism and low extraversion (HR = 0.97 95% CI = 0.57-1.65).(1)

Got it? So do we fret and socialize, stay home and calmly knit, or placidly go out drinking with our buddies? Don't freak out while you discuss this conundrum with your friends because, as you will see once you sort out the various possibilities here, being a Buddha of a buddy is your best bet for the brightest brain.
Wang, HX, et al.
Personality and lifestyle in relation to dementia incidence. Neurology. 2009 Jan 20;72(3):253-9.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Flector patch--the first NSAID patch for pain

So what does a NSAID patch have to do with this piece of exercise equipment? Let me explain.

It's called a Trikke (as in trike for grown-ups). You use all your balance and leg strength to power this in a skating sort of fashion. Is this the appropriate gizmo for a middle-aged female? No, no, not me, I wouldn't be caught dead on this thing--probably would be dead if I tried. My intrepid medical partner Adele, however, has been seen 'skating' on a Trikke down Montview Blvd. here in Denver, and one day she met the pavement beside her trike, her hamstring muscle ripped from its pelvic attachment.* She healed to skate (and ride, and do Pilates, and lift weights again), but the scarred muscle is not as flexible as it used to be which in turn puts stress on her pyriformis muscle.

So last week she was running from exam room to exam room working her healing magic while occasionally clutching her piriformis muscle which was in spasm whilst whining softly with pain (check out where the pyriformis muscle is and you'll know what she was grabbing). The King Pharmaceuticals rep coincidentally showed up with info and samples of the Flector patch.

A word or two about diclofenac, the active ingredient in this medicated patch indicated for topical use for pain control of acute injuries such as strains, sprains, and contusions. Diclofenac, formerly known as Voltaren, is a dandy non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) which reaches high concentrations in joint spaces. It's generic, cheap, works well, AND causes stomach inflammation with bleeding, possible liver toxicity, and can reduce blood flow to kidneys, particularly aging kidneys.

So, Novartis developed Voltaren Gel to smear on arthritic joints; used regularly it significantly decreases pain without bothering the stomach, the liver, or the kidneys. And now King Pharmaceuticals brings us diclofenac in patch form with very little systemic absorption--also safer for use particularly in older souls with acid gastritis and aging vascular systems.

Adele, being the sort of sport that she is and really distressed by her pain in the butt, slapped a patch on the offending area. Perhaps this was not the best Flector patch trial as it became quite wrinkled given the anatomy of the area and the wearer reported it was a little like having an ongoing wedgie. Nevertheless, Flector is a good idea (but a really stupid name) and I look forward to handing them out to persons with sprained ankles, shoulders, or back to see how they fare.
*My bro' Reality Man uses one too, but so far he's remained upright in his exercise endeavors.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

YogaToes revisited

I've mentioned before that this product has relieved most of my foot pain coming from falling arches and mid-foot impingement syndrome (along with arch supports in the shoes). Just noticed a coupon code in Health Magazine for $15 off--go to YogaToes.com and enter coupon code H3X9.