HEALTH

Study: Knee OA cannot be predicted, but strong thigh muscles are good prevention

BY Michael Johnsen

IOWA CITY, Iowa A new study by researchers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics found that thigh muscle strength does not predict the occurrence of knee osteoarthritis uncovered in x-rays, but does predict incidence of painful or stiff knee OA. Women with the strongest quadriceps muscles appeared to be protected against the development of knee OA symptoms, according to the study published in the September issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology.

The knee is the most common weight-bearing joint affected by osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, a major cause of disability in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 26.9 million U.S. adults are affected by OA with 16% (aged 45+ years) of those cases occurring in the knee. Approximately 18.7% of symptomatic knee OA patients are female and 13.5% are male. A Medical Expenditure Panel Survey estimates that total out-of-pocket expenditures for treatment of arthritis was $32 billion in 2005.

Neil Segal and colleagues in a study funded by the National Institute on Aging followed 3,026 men and women ages 50-79 over a 30-month period in the Multicenter Knee Osteoarthritis Study to assess whether knee extensor strength would predict incident radiographic (OA that can be determined through X-ray) or symptomatic knee OA.

By the conclusion of the study 48 of 680 men and 93 of 937 women developed OA detected by x-ray. At the end of the 30-month period 10.1% of women and 7.8% of men displayed signs of symptomatic knee OA. “Our results showed thigh muscle strength was not a significant predictor of radiographic knee OA,” concluded the authors. Women in the top third of peak knee extensor strength had a lower incidence of symptomatic knee OA, while men with strong thigh muscles had only slightly better odds of developing OA symptoms compared to men with weaker knee extensor strength. “The H:Q ratios were not predictive of symptomatic knee OA in either men or women,” added researchers.

“These findings suggest that targeted interventions to reduce risk for symptomatic knee OA could be directed toward increasing knee extensor strength,” Segal said.

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Walgreens announces Pharmacy Management Excellence program with Caterpillar

BY DSN STAFF

The news that Walgreens has reached an agreement with Caterpillar to help the company curb healthcare costs for its 70,000 employees, retirees and eligible dependents is one more indicator that the private sector cannot wait for healthcare reform and that pharmacy retailers are taking a greater role on the front lines of health care.

As explained in the article, Walgreens, through its Pharmacy Management Excellence program, will make transparent the prescription drug-pricing model, in turn, eliminating unnecessary and hidden costs for Caterpillar.

Walgreens and Caterpillar are also exploring, through Walgreens Complete Care and Well-Being program, other ways to develop an integrated health care and pharmacy program. The Complete Care and Well-Being program combines worksite health centers, in-store clinics and pharmacies with the discount drug offering

By leveraging its resources, Walgreens is positioning itself along the frontlines of the healthcare and sending the message that retail pharmacy is helping to drive healthcare reform and is a critical player in improving employees’ health and well-being.

As previously mentioned by Drug Store News, the more the private sector leads the way on this, the more likely that reform will work for them, as well as the rest of America.

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MedImmune launches ‘Don’t Play with the Flu’ campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK MedImmune, Women’s Professional Soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization last week launched the “Don’t Play with the Flu” campaign, which aims to highlight the importance of getting a seasonal influenza vaccination every year. The program kicked off with soccer legends Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain.

“‘Don’t Play with the Flu’ reflects MedImmune’s commitment to supporting healthy families,” stated Tony Zook, president of MedImmune. “We’re very pleased to partner with Women’s Professional Soccer, the American Youth Soccer Organization, and of course Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain, to bring this important preventive health message to families across the country this flu season.”

“We know a vaccine is the best way to help protect ourselves from the flu, so my family and I get a seasonal flu vaccine as soon as we can every year,” stated Hamm. “That way we can concentrate on all the other things we regularly do to stay healthy on and off the field and in our busy lives.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that the best way families can help prevent the seasonal flu is by getting a flu vaccine every year for those individuals who are eligible to receive it. The CDC recommends that children 6 months through 18 years of age be vaccinated annually against seasonal flu and that eligible individuals be immunized as soon as the seasonal vaccine becomes available, which can be as early as August and September.

“Along with all the things that parents know are important for helping keep their kids healthy — like washing hands and getting enough sleep — influenza vaccination should be at the top of the list. It’s a smart defense to help protect our kids and our families from seasonal flu,” stated Anat Feingold, a pediatric infectious disease expert. “And because kids can spread the flu, including at school, it’s important that parents ask about an annual flu vaccine as soon as it is available. Back-to-school and sports physicals can be the perfect opportunity.”

The campaign offers families information, resources, and updates through DontPlaywiththeFlu.com, including interactive content, a quiz about seasonal flu and educational information. The campaign also aims to educate families about the importance of seasonal flu vaccination for eligible individuals through informational brochures at WPS stadiums, media events and soccer clinics in WPS franchise cities, and directly to AYSO members and families around the country.

As a part of the campaign, MedImmune has become a sponsor of WPS, the world’s premier women’s professional soccer league, and AYSO, a nationwide nonprofit youth soccer organization that develops and delivers quality youth soccer programs to approximately 600,000 players. MedImmune was the presenting sponsor of the 2009 WPS Championship in Los Angeles Aug. 22, and will also present the “Defender of the Year” award at the WPS All-Star Game in St. Louis on Aug. 30.

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