ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
CAREGIVING
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
Coffee or Tea Consumption May Lower Stroke Risk
Herb Shows Potential for Rheumatoid Arthriti
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
FITNESS
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
When Clocks Change, Body May Need Time to Adjust
Why Am I So Tired? Could It Be Low Thyroid?
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Help Your Kids Stay Active
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Any Old Cane Won't Do
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
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Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage

THURSDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The first direct proof of how osteoarthritis destroys cartilage has been discovered by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers.

They said their finding could lead to preventive treatments for a disease that affects almost 21 million aging Americans and is the leading cause of disability in the United States.

Until now, little was known about the cellular and molecular mechanisms that cause the break down of the cartilage in joints. Previous research suggested that higher levels of signaling protein called beta-catenin were associated with osteoarthritis (OA), but there was no direct evidence to confirm that link.

The University of Rochester Medical Center team genetically engineered mice with high levels of beta-catenin and found the mice lost most of their articular cartilage -- the protective layer that covers the ends of bones within joints. The mice also developed the same bony growths and microfractures that occur in people with OA.

In a companion experiment, the researchers also found much higher-than-normal beta-catenin levels in cartilage cells taken from patients with severe arthritis.

"We have created the first model in a living animal that shows exactly how osteoarthritis causes damage. That, of course, puts us in position to interfere with the processes that contribute to the damage in a new and powerful way," study author Dr. Di Chen, an associate professor in the department of orthopedics, said in a university news release.

The study was published Sept. 2 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

"The first step was to prove that beta-catenin is central to OA development, and I think we have done that," Chen said. "Now, we are seeking to confirm that mechanical loading and meniscal injury create higher levels of beta-catenin in osteoarthritis joints, and that this and meniscal injury [the meniscus is the sponge-like layer of cartilage between the bones of the knee] create higher levels of beta-catenin in osteoarthritic joints, and that this in turn causes cartilage destruction and too fast differentiation of cartilage into bone."

More information

The Arthritis Foundation has more about osteoarthritis.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: University of Rochester Medical Center, news release, Sept. 2, 2008

Last Updated: Sept. 04, 2008

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