ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
DIET, NUTRITION
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
Quick Weight Loss May Be Best for Long-Term Success
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Genetics, Environment Shape Sexual Behavior
EYE CARE, VISION
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
FITNESS
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Coffee Cuts Liver Scarring in Hepatitis C
A Honey of a Sinusitis Treatment
Vitamin D and Bone Health: Are You Getting Enough of This Important Vitamin?
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
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Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Genes may boost the odds of developing rotator cuff problems, according to new research that finds the shoulder injury running in families.

The finding is based on an analysis of health data on more than two million Utah residents. It showed that rotator cuff trouble among even distant relations, such as third cousins, can predict an individual's risk.

"Rotator cuff tears are very common," said study lead author Dr. Robert Tashjian, a shoulder and elbow surgeon as well as an assistant professor in the department of orthopaedics at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City. "It's the number one problem that an orthopaedic surgeon treats in terms of shoulder issues in the clinic. And yet, no one really knows exactly why they occur."

"In fact, we know a lot of people in their seventies and eighties never develop rotator cuff injuries, even though very often they engage in the same activities as people who do develop rotator cuff tears," he said. "And by the same token, many people who get the tears are actually not very active."

Based on those observations, the team speculated that "maybe some people are predisposed to developing tears for some reason," Tashjian said. "And when we looked at the information in a very extensive state-wide database, we found that there was a hereditary contribution to rotator cuff problems that extends all the way out to third-degree relatives."

Tashjian and colleague Lisa Cannon-Albright were expected to discuss the findings this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), in Las Vegas.

According to the AAOS, the rotator cuff enables the arm to lift and rotate by holding in place the top part of the upper arm bone (humerus) through a network of muscles and tendons.

While rotator cuff tears can strike anyone following a traumatic injury, most develop among men and women over the age 40 after years of repetitive stress or overuse take their toll on the relevant muscles. Weakness and/or pain when lowering or lifting the arm could be a sign of a tear, the AAOS warns.

Rotator cuff trouble may be especially problematic for the disabled, according to a second study also expected to be presented at the AAOS meeting. Researchers led by Dr. Michael Akbar of the University of Heidelberg, Germany, found evidence of rotator cuff injury in almost half of wheelchair-bound paraplegic patients, with the risk of such injuries rising 5 percent for each year of wheelchair dependency.

In the study by Tashjian and Cannon-Albright, the researchers sifted through the Utah Population Database (UPDB), which pairs health data with genealogical records concerning millions of Utah residents.

"The people who grow up in Utah tend to stay here," Tashjian noted, and the data "often contains information on three, four, or even five generations of any one family."

The study authors found that the risk for developing rotator cuff disease was "significantly elevated" among men and women related to rotator cuff patients by first or second degree.

In particular, for those under the age of 40, a "significantly elevated" risk existed if relatives, even very distant ones, had experienced a rotator cuff injury.

This all points to a genetic predisposition to rotator cuff problems, the researchers said.

"A lot of things could contribute to the onset of rotator cuff disease, but I think this shows that patients are probably predisposed or not predisposed to developing it," Tashjian said. "And at some point in the future, if we could isolate a gene or combination of genes that account for this predisposition, maybe those people who have it can engage in certain exercises or take certain precautions to prevent a future rotator cuff tear. Or perhaps we could even figure out how to reverse the affects of this dysfunctional gene."

Dr. Ken Yamaguchi, a professor of orthopaedic surgery at Washington University in St. Louis, believes the study provides "extremely important information."

"The prevalence of rotator cuff disease is incredibly large," he noted. "It's a huge public health problem in the U.S., given that by the age of 65, about 50 percent of the population actually has rotator cuff injuries, even if most don't know it because they don't hurt or have profound weakness or any symptoms. So understanding why it happens is fundamental to perhaps figuring out how to intervene."

"And all of our research so far," Yamaguchi added, "has shown that rotator cuff disease is much more of an age-related process. That it is not related so much to injury, but is part of a much more gradual and degenerative process that for some reason affects some, but not others. So here it's hard to argue with what this study shows. It's very convincing data."

More information

There's more on rotator cuff problems at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.



SOURCES: Robert Tashjian, M.D., shoulder and elbow surgeon, and assistant professor, department of orthopaedics, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah; Ken Yamaguchi, M.D., Sam and Marilyn Fox distinguished professor, orthopaedic surgery, Washington University, St. Louis; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting, Las Vegas, Feb. 25-28, 2009

Last Updated: Feb. 25, 2009

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