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Rheumatoid arthritis pain produced by specific antibodies according to new discovery

A group of researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has discovered that joint pains, typical of rheumatoid arthritis, can exist even in the absence of arthritis and this would be caused, as scientists have seen by performing experiments on mice, by particular antibodies.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that affects about 1% of the world’s population; it is an inflammation of the joints which can also be very painful. However, the pain can appear before the inflammation itself and can exist even after one has recovered, as reported by the same Camilla Svensson, researcher of the Swedish Institute and author together with other colleagues of the study appeared in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

This is because the body starts producing immune antibodies to counteract the immune cells that attack the cartilage and the bones of the joints in the very early phase of inflammation and this action can, in turn, generate pain. The researchers injected these antibodies into the cartilage of mice and found that rodents suffered more from the sensation of pain even before the appearance of signs of inflammation in the joint.

Following analysis, the researchers discovered that immune cells, groups of antibodies, and cartilage proteins in the joints triggered the pain cells.

The discovery that there are antibodies in the body of mice that can affect pain neurons even if there is no actual tissue damage or inflammation could help develop new therapies to reduce pain-specific neuronal activity for human patients with rheumatoid arthritis as well as other autoimmune diseases.

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Combination of vitamin D and estradiol can prevent metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women

A new study by Chinese researchers shows that the combination of vitamin D and an estrogen such as estradiol can be particularly useful for improving women’s health after menopause, so much that it could also prevent the metabolic syndrome, a set of diseases which in turn increase the risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes in post-menopausal women.

In the study, published in Menopause, the metabolic syndrome is taken into consideration, which in recent years has become increasingly a concern of doctors and researchers regarding public health. This disease, which affects a percentage of post-menopausal women ranging from 30 to 60%, is, according to previous studies, linked to reduced levels of particular estrogens. These same studies have also led to estradiol-based treatments in particular to prevent problems with certain diseases that can aggravate a person’s health in the long term.

In parallel, the same lack of vitamin D is in turn linked to problems related to the metabolic syndrome, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and hyperglycemia. The same doctors recommend vitamin D supplements to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome in the long term. Taking into consideration these previous studies that concerned both estradiol and vitamin D, Chinese researchers have tried to understand if these positive effects could exist if the two elements were taken together.

By performing a cross-sectional study of 616 post-menopausal women between the ages of 49 and 86, the researchers obtained a positive result: vitamin D and estradiol together can prevent diabetes, stroke and heart disease. In particular, vitamin D, according to the researchers, favors the stability of blood pressure and glucose level while low levels of estradiol were associated with cholesterol, triglycerides, bad blood pressure. Low levels of both elements were then linked to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome.

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Low levels of vitamin K linked to motor disabilities in the elderly

A study published in the Journal of Gerontology emphasizes the importance of vitamin K in the human body. In particular, this research, which according to the same researchers is the first to assess the association between vitamin K levels in the body and mobility in older people, finds that lower levels of vitamin K are related to higher risks of limitation in mobility and in general of disability in people of advanced age.

The study, carried out by researchers from the University of Tufts, United States, in addition to establishing the fact that vitamin K is associated with the onset of chronic diseases that can cause disability, also makes it clear that this connection is still to be studied in depth with further research in the future. A slower speed in gait but also higher risks of arthritic pathologies can therefore be linked to lower levels of vitamin K, a group of vitamins that in the human body have the task of synthesizing important proteins which in turn are fundamental for the coagulation of blood.

Without or with lower levels of vitamin K, blood coagulation can be seriously compromised and uncontrolled bleeding may occur. Vitamin K can be found mainly in green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, spinach and in certain dairy foods.

In particular, the scientists examined two biomarkers, the one related to vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, and that of the ucMGP plasma. The phylloquinone-related biomarker showed clear connections regarding mobility limitations so that elderly people with low vitamin K levels were more at 1.5-fold risk of developing mobility-related disabilities.

The study made use of an analysis of 635 men and 688 women aged 70 to 79 years whose mobility was assessed every six months for 6-10 years.