Arthroscopic surgery for degenerative knees — not so great?

The British Medical Journal (aka BMJ) has published a report from doctors who dug through all the studies available on whether or not knee surgery really helps middle aged or older patients with knee pain and degenerative knee disease (This is NOT about traumatic knee injury).

Their conclusions: The small inconsequential benefit seen from interventions that include arthroscopy for the degenerative knee is limited in time and absent at one to two years after surgery. Knee arthroscopy is associated with harms. Taken together, these findings do not support the practise of arthroscopic surgery for middle aged or older patients with knee pain with or without signs of osteoarthritis.

Of course, I’m just a layman, but my guess is that the physical therapy required after knee surgery is what helped these patients, and when they stopped doing the therapy and stopped moving around so much, their knee pain came back.

Source: Arthroscopic surgery for degenerative knee: systematic review and meta-analysis of benefits and harms

(Again, this is not about vertigo, but many people have more problems than solely vertigo, and I like to pass along what I find on other health problems.)


Posted under Other Medical

This post was written by Dan Ferry on June 21, 2015


B Vitamin Helps Prevent Some Skin Cancer (unfortunately not vertigo)

I’ve had one instance of basal cell carcinoma on my head, and I wasn’t happy about it. This study in Australia, which has one of the highest rates of skin cancers in the world, says one B vitamin can help prevent certain types of cancer. I’m not so sure this stuff is “almost obscenely inexpensive,” because it wasn’t when I just checked, but what price can we place on avoiding cancer?

And sure, this has nothing to do with vertigo, but I thought it important enough to bring to your attention.

An inexpensive vitamin can help reduce the occurrence of common skin cancers in people prone to that disease, researchers reported on Wednesday.

In a clinical trial, people who took two pills a day of nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3 available as a nutritional supplement, had a 23 percent lower risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer than those who took placebo pills.

“It’s safe, it’s almost obscenely inexpensive and it’s widely available,” Dr. Diona Damian, the lead investigator of the study, said in a news conference organized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, who said the findings could be put into practice right away.

“This one’s ready to go straight into the clinic,” said Dr. Damian, a dermatology professor at the University of Sydney in Australia. However, she said [Dan:  my italics]  the vitamin should be used only by people who get frequent skin cancers, not by everyone.

The skin cancer prevention study focused on non-melanoma skin cancer, particularly basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. Together, these are the most common form of cancer in the United States, with the most recent study estimating that in 2006 there were 3.5 million cases in 2.2 million Americans. Most of these are curable through surgery or other techniques, though the surgery can leave scars and in some cases the cancers do become more serious.

Dr. Damian said the effect of the vitamin seemed to disappear once people stopped taking it. She said that nicotinamide did not have the side effects, like headache and flushing, of niacin, another form of vitamin B3.

Two experts not involved in the study said the results were “interesting and potentially important,” in part because nicotinamide had fewer side effects than the pharmaceutical alternatives for skin cancer prevention.

The experts, Dr. Clara Curiel-Lewandrowski, clinical director of the Skin Cancer Institute at the University of Arizona, and Steven Stratton, a pharmacologist there, said in a joint email that patients should nonetheless talk to their doctors before taking the vitamin.

Read the entire article at The New York Times.


Posted under Other Medical

This post was written by Dan Ferry on May 15, 2015


Dan’s New Short Story Book Free in Kindle Store March 31 – April 2

My new short story book, A Scamp, A Scalawag, And A Patsy: Daniel Buys A Horse And Other Stories is FREE in the Kindle Store from March 31 – April 2.

Just three stories:

  • How I bought my horse (a true story)
  • An inept con man (no horses)
  • A veterinarian handles the aftermath of a tragic riding accident

If you like horses, you’ll probably like this book. If you’re interested in where I got the great cover, check out my post at



Posted under Kindle Books

This post was written by Dan Ferry on March 31, 2015