Things You Should Know About Spinal Osteoarthritis?

Are you familiar with the term Spinal Osteoarthritis? For many individuals, this term is a bit of a mouthful and most likely not something they hear every day. However, spinal osteoarthritis, or arthritis of the back is a serious issue that many Americans suffer from each day. It is important for people to remain educated on Spinal Osteoarthritis so they know how to manage it not just for themselves if they have it, but for other loved ones as well. Here are 3 things you should know about Spinal Osteoarthritis.

  1. Who is at risk? The first thing you are probably wondering is “Am I or another loved on at risk?” It is important to identify who is most at risk for Spinal Osteoarthritis. This medical condition is most common in individuals over the age of 45, however, it can still occur in those younger than 45. Men are typically at a higher risk of developing Spinal Osteoarthritis, especially if they are younger. Overweight individuals and individuals who are active in sports that could add more stress to certain joints are also at a higher risk.

 

  1. The symptoms. Everyone experiences mild back pain at some point of their life. It is completely normal to feel a little bit of pain after being on your feet for a prolonged period of time. However, if you have Spinal Osteoarthritis that pain may be much more severe. Some other symptoms include stiffness in the neck or back, weakness or numbness in arms and legs, and swelling. Individuals may also experience emotional and social issues because severe Spinal Osteoarthritis can hinder their ability to perform daily tasks, which in turn may make the individual feel depressed or isolated.

 

 

  1. Treatment options. If you think you may have Spinal Osteoarthritis, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Top-notch neurosurgeons such as Dr. J Kevin Kaufman specialize in treating these medical conditions. Your doctor may schedule you to receive X-rays, an MRI, and bloodwork to help determine the diagnosis. The good news is that there are many treatment options available for Spinal Osteoarthritis. Some of the best treatment options include strengthening exercises, maintaining a healthy diet and losing excess weight, and for more severe cases, surgery. Check with your doctor for help in identifying which treatment plan is best for you.

 

Spinal Osteoarthritis is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it is a common medical condition especially in middle-aged and older Americans. By staying educated on what it is and knowing the signs and symptoms, you will be able to make better decisions about your health and receive a proper diagnosis along with treatment options that will help relieve the back pain of you or a loved one that may currently be suffering.

 

The Exciting Possibilities of Stem Cell Research

 

As one of the most innovative and exciting fields in science, stem cell research is brimming with possibilities that could benefit human health and well-being.

In what ways might stem cells be able to treat serious health conditions in the future?

Stem Cells & Heart Disease

Scientists believe that stem cells could soon be used to treat cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, stroke, congestive heart failure and coronary heart disease, all of which are highly prevalent in the United States. In fact, someone dies from a cardiovascular disease in the U.S. every 34 seconds.  This disease primarily kills the heart’s muscle cells, which in turn limits the heart’s ability to continue pumping effectively.

Scientists are currently exploring the potential for embryonic, adult-derived, myoblast, umbilical cord blood and adult bone marrow-derived steam cells to serve as regenerative cardiac muscle cells. Initial human clinical trials, which have primarily been performed during open heart surgery, have demonstrated that cardiac function is improved and capillary creation resumes after the introduction of these steam cells. However, these methods of stem cell introduction don’t reflect uniform purification or application, so the results are somewhat inconclusive as to how widespread implementation could move forward.

Stem Cells & Alzheimer’s Disease

The first clinical stem cell trial for treating Alzheimer’s disease is currently under way. Scientists hope the human trial will provide a better picture of the extent to which stem cells affect the Alzheimer’s brain and if their introduction could improve cognitive function. Alzheimer’s disease currently affects 5.2 million people in the United States and 44 million people around the world, and causes the death of large amount of neurons in the brain. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease can experience memory loss, difficulty reasoning, disorientation and the struggle to make decisions, among other symptoms.

Animal model testing has already shown that stem cells introduced in the brain are able to improve cognition, but not by replacing neurons. Rather, these stem cells are able to moderate any inflammation, improve remyelination, and provide trophic support. With these functions, the brain becomes healthier and its toxicity is lowered, which could reduce or halt the death of neurons.

Stem Cells & Organ Creation

Researchers are also very close to being able to create human organs. In May of this year it was announced that a new type of stem cell, the region-selective pluripotent stem cell, may have the ability to create any type of tissue, and therefore be the perfect candidate for successful organ creation. This type of cell is also exciting to scientists because it grows far more quickly and stably than the other two types of pluripotent stem cells.

Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, the developmental biologist who discovered the region-selective pluripotent stem cell, believes that with gene editing, it may be possible to grow full human organs inside of animals, which could then be harvested and transplanted to humans in need of these organs. While Izpisua Belmonte’ s idea is still in its infancy, the discovery of the region-selective pluripotent stem cell in itself is cause for much hope and expectation.

Ultimately, as leading spinal surgeon Dr. J Kevin Kaufman states, it seems as though we’re on the precipice of a significant breakthrough in stem cell research and when—not if—these breakthroughs occur, we can expect unparalleled improvements in medical treatment.