U.S. war veterans who sustained severe combat wounds and have chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at increased risk for high blood pressure, a new study says. The study included nearly 3,900 military veterans who had been severely wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan from February 2002 to February 2011. Their average age when they were wounded was 26. More than 14 percent of the veterans developed high blood pressure at least 90 days after being wounded. The severity of the injuries and how frequently PTSD was noted in their medical records after the wounding separately affected their risk for high blood pressure. “What we found surprised us,” said study senior author Dr. Ian Stewart, a major at the U.S. Air Force Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base in California. For every 5-point increase on a 75-point injury severity score, the risk for high blood pressure rose 5 percent. Veterans with an injury severity score of 25 or lower and no recorded PTSD diagnosis had the lowest risk for high blood pressure, according to the study. Compared with veterans with no PTSD diagnosis, the risk for high blood pressure was 85 percent higher among those who had PTSD noted one to 15 times in their medical records — indicating chronic PTSD. High blood pressure was 114 percent more likely among veterans with PTSD noted more…  read on >

Tiny pellets could treat arthritic knee pain, delaying the need for knee replacement surgery, a small study has found. Microparticles inserted into small blood vessels around the knee helped reduce the pain and improve function in eight arthritis sufferers, according to clinical trial results. The results were presented Monday at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s annual meeting, in Los Angeles. “Patients overall were able to improve their physical function in the knee after the procedure, and there were no adverse events related to this treatment,” said lead researcher Dr. Sandeep Bagla. Bagla is director of interventional radiology at the Vascular Institute of Virginia in Woodbridge. Boston Scientific, maker of the microparticles, funded the study. Much of the pain that comes from knee arthritis actually stems from inflammation in the lining of the knee joint, also called the synovium, Bagla said. In fact, small blood vessels created by degenerative arthritis feed this inflammation by increasing blood flow to the lining. To treat this, Bagla and his colleagues decided to try blocking those tiny blood vessels using microparticles — spheres about a tenth of a millimeter in size made from a synthetic gel-like material. The microparticles are inserted using a catheter run through a pinhole-sized incision, in a procedure that lasts between 45 and 90 minutes, Bagla said. “It’s an outpatient procedure, and no physical therapy is…  read on >

If you’re planning a career change or wondering if a challenging job could have positive effects, research might provide some intriguing answers. In a 2014 study, scientists in Scotland used levels of job complexity based on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles for an analysis of more than 1,000 participants with an average age of 70. They found that two types of complex jobs lead to longer-lasting memory and thinking ability, years after retirement. One is working at a high level with data. The other is working at a high level with other people, on tasks like teaching, negotiating and mentoring. According to the lead author of the study, the theory is that more stimulating work environments may help people retain these mental skills. While the effect of occupation accounts for just a 1 to 2 percent variance between people with high- and low-complexity jobs, that differential is similar to some lifestyle factors that affect better thinking skills in later life, such as not smoking. The most complex jobs involving data include: Architect. Civil engineer. Graphic designer. Musician. The least complex jobs involving data include: Construction worker. Telephone operator. Food server. The most complex jobs involving other people include: Surgeon. Lawyer. Social worker. Probation officer. The least complex jobs involving other people include: Factory worker. Painter. Carpet layer. Bookbinder. Do complex jobs buffer the brain, or…  read on >

(HealthDay News) — Eating one serving of green leafy vegetables per day is associated with slower age-related cognitive decline, recent research suggests. Reported in the journal Neurology — the study involved 960 adults with an average age of 81 and no sign of dementia. The difference between those who ate the greens and those who did not was equivalent to being 11 years younger cognitively. The vegetables eaten included kale, spinach and collards, which are rich sources of cognition-supporting folate, phylloquinone, nitrate, α-tocopherol, kaempferol and lutein, said the researchers at Chicago’s Rush University and Boston’s Tufts Human Nutrition Research Center.

Think you could taste the difference between recycled toilet water, bottled water or tap water? It’s unlikely, results of a blind taste test suggest. Years of drought in California have given momentum to household use of recycled wastewater. Six water agencies in the state already use wastewater that’s produced through a technology called indirect potable reuse (IDR), the University of California, Riverside, researchers noted. The IDR approach redirects treated wastewater into groundwater supplies, where it re-enters the drinking water system. Although research has shown that recycled wastewater is safe, people are often repulsed about things such as taste. “It seems that this term [wastewater], and the idea of recycled water in general, evokes disgust reactions,” said study author Daniel Harmon, a graduate student in psychology. “It is important to make recycled water less scary to people who are concerned about it, as it is an important source of water now and in the future,” Harmon said in a university news release He and his colleagues asked 143 people to compare the taste of IDR tap water, conventional groundwater tap water and bottled water. “The groundwater-based water was not as well liked as IDR or bottled water,” said study co-author Mary Gauvain, a professor of psychology. “We think that happened because IDR and bottled water go through remarkably similar treatment processes, so they have low levels…  read on >

Knee replacement patients can continue to enjoy sports — such as skiing, tennis and dancing — without worrying that high-impact activities might compromise their new joint, a small, new study finds. The researchers tracked patients for between five and 15 years after knee replacement surgery, known as total knee arthroplasty. They found that sports participation had no significant impact on the longevity of artificial knees. Historically, knee replacement patients are advised against high-impact activities to preserve the new joint. “Patients were coming back for their annual review . . . and were participating in a range of ‘prohibited’ activities. There were patients competing in downhill skiing and tennis, but there was no wear, no dislocations, no loosening and no revisions,” said study author Dr. Samuel Joseph. He’s an orthopedic surgeon at Linacre Private Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. “Yes, there are patients running marathons and participating in triathlons after knee replacement surgery,” he added. More than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The procedure replaces the natural joint with a prosthetic version made of metal and plastic. It’s typically done because of severe arthritis, trauma or other joint damage. Joseph and his colleagues identified 355 knee replacement patients who continued to participate in sports after surgery, more than 100 of whom…  read on >

If you love exercise, one of the hardest parts of suffering an injury is being sidelined. But if you take the time to heal a sprain or strain correctly, you’ll get back in the game faster. First, understand your injury to treat it appropriately. A sprain affects ligaments, the bands of tissue that connect bones at a joint. A strain is damage to muscle and the fibers that attach it to bone. Both injuries are classified from first-degree (the mildest) to third-degree (the most severe). Resist minimizing your injury. If you’re in a lot of pain or can’t put weight on a limb, call your doctor. Getting the right treatment is essential for a full and healthy recovery. You might need a splint, protective pad or brace, or crutches. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, treatment starts with an approach called PRICE, a variation of RICE, to limit swelling and speed healing. “PRICE” steps include: Protect against any further injury. Restrict activity for 48 to 72 hours. Ice the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes every 60 to 90 minutes. Compress the area with an elastic bandage or other compression aid. Elevate the injured area to minimize swelling. The next stage usually includes gentle movement of the muscle or joint, mild resistance exercise, and a very gradual return to your favorite activity.…  read on >

A brutal flu season has had people reaching for relief in their medicine cabinet, but a new study warns that overdosing on acetaminophen (Tylenol) is more common when bugs and viruses are circulating. It turns out that the odds of taking more than the recommended 4 grams a day jumps 24 percent during these months, said lead researcher Saul Shiffman. He is senior scientific advisor at the research firm Pinney Associates in Pittsburgh. Why the jump? People battling the flu often take more than one medication for their symptoms — one remedy for headache, another for sniffles, another for backache — not realizing that all of them may contain acetaminophen, Shiffman explained. “If you don’t realize each contains acetaminophen, you might end up exceeding the daily limit inadvertently,” he said. Taking too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage, Shiffman said, although he noted that most people in this study who took too much did not hit the high levels that would overload the liver. “The daily limit is set pretty conservatively. There’s no indication that if you go a little over 4 grams, that puts you at risk. The idea is we want people to follow the label directions,” Shiffman added. On the other hand, people at risk for liver damage might be harmed by taking even lower amounts of acetaminophen, and should be particularly…  read on >

While football is frequently blamed for concussions, a new study shows that it’s also the sport in which athletes are most likely to suffer neck injuries. A neck fracture, commonly referred to as a broken neck, is a break in one or more vertebrae in the upper part of the spine. Neck sprains involve injury to the soft tissue surrounding those bones. The neck is referred to medically as the cervical spine. “We expected that American football was the leading cause of cervical spine injury, and it was for overall injuries [fractures and sprains],” said study author Dr. J. Mason DePasse. He’s a trauma fellow in the department of orthopaedics at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School in Providence, R.I. “Most neck fractures during sports don’t involve paralysis,” DePasse added. “Certainly that can happen, but most people … can have arm weakness.” DePasse and his colleagues combed through data collected by the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 2000 to 2015. More than 27,000 patients with neck injuries sustained from sports were identified, including 26,380 neck sprains and 1,166 fractures. Compared to women, men’s injury rates were 1.7 times higher for neck sprains and 3.6 times higher for fractures. Trailing football as the most common cause of neck sprains in men were cycling and weightlifting/aerobics. Women suffered the most neck sprains in weightlifting/aerobics, trampoline and…  read on >

Stem cell clinics are charging big money for knee arthritis “cures” and making extravagant claims about their therapies, a new study contends. A same-day injection for one knee costs thousands of dollars at these centers, according to a consumer survey taken of clinics across the United States. People are paying that kind of cash because two-thirds of stem cell clinics promise that their treatments work 80 to 100 percent of the time, researchers report. But there’s no medical evidence suggesting that any stem cell therapy can provide a lasting cure for knee arthritis, said study lead researcher Dr. George Muschler, an orthopedic surgeon with the Cleveland Clinic. “There are claims made about efficacy [effectiveness] that aren’t supported by the literature,” Muschler said. “There’s a risk of charlatanism, and patients should be aware.” Stem cells have gained a reputation as a miracle treatment and potential cure for many ailments. The cells have the potential to provide replacement cells for any part of the body — blood, brain, bones or organs. As a result, a wave of stem cell centers have opened up around the country, offering cures for a variety of diseases, Muschler said. “It’s very sexy to market yourself as a stem cell center, so there’s been a boom of centers, probably close to 600 now in the United States offering this therapy,” Muschler said.…  read on >