Eamonn Holmes discusses Liam Gallagher's arthritis struggles
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Researchers from Soochow University in China have discovered the sleep hormone melatonin could be used to treat or even reverse osteoarthritis.
In the past melatonin has been shown to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory affects, useful in the treatment of arthritis.
Researchers from Soochow recently published a study demonstrating how melatonin can prevent the breakdown of existing cartilage and encourage the growth of new cartilage.
Although positive, one caveat is the study was conducted on rabbits rather than humans; nevertheless, should the same results occur in human trials it could change the lives of millions of osteoarthritis patients globally.
Publishing their findings in the journal Ageing Research Reviews, the team behind the study said their findings confirmed “melatonin may be a prospective treatment option for osteoarthritis”.
Speaking in response to the study, Professor Leela Biant of the University of Manchester said: “All cells, including cartilage cells, have a circadian rhythm of rest, repair, and work.
“Melatonin can influence the circadian rhythm of cells, as well as influence our sleep pattern. Although this research is preliminary, it may be a promising avenue for further investigation.”
As a result, more research is required to fully confirm the link between melatonin and an improvement in osteoarthritis patients.
Current treatments for osteoarthritis mainly circle around three areas:
• Lifestyle measures
• Supportive therapies.
Lifestyle measures include maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly.
Exercise helps as it “builds up muscle and strengthens the joints” leading to an improvement in symptoms as the joints have more support and protection from everyday impact.
Furthermore, exercise helps someone to lose weight and thus takes pressure of the affected joints.
Arthritis patients often experience pain as a result of their condition.
Subsequently, painkillers form a key part of the treatment plans of many; the severity of the pain will depend on the strength of the painkiller prescribed by the GP.
Meanwhile, some supportive treatments may also be suggested.
Supportive treatments include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS for short.
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