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Risk Factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. In some patients, the inflammation spreads to (and damages) other non-joint organs like the heart, lungs, blood vessels, skin, and eyes. RA is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the body’s tissues.

So far, researchers have not been able to tell exactly what causes the immune system to misbehave in this way. Some genetic factors increase the likelihood of RA, but they don’t actually cause the disease. Conversely, studies have shown that the following groups of people are more vulnerable to rheumatoid arthritis than others:

  1. Women are likelier to have RA than men. While it can affect people of all ages, it mostly starts in middle age. Middle-aged women are more susceptible than any other group.
  2. The condition is genetic, so if someone in your family has RA, you may have an increased risk.
  3. If you are genetically predisposed to have RA, cigarette smoking increases your risk. Studies also show that smoking increases the severity of the disease.
  4.  Overweight people, especially women 55 years and younger, appear to be at a higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis than people of average weight.
  5. Environmental factors, like exposure to asbestos or silica, increases the risk of autoimmune disorders like RA.

While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis yet, there are medications geared towards reducing patients’ pain, as well as minimizing joint damage and improving physical function.

If you’re suffering from RA, you can take part in clinical trials and gain access to promising drugs that are still in the developmental phase. For more information, visit DM Clinical or call 281-517-0550.

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Treatment Options for Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammation of the joint and it affects people who suffer from psoriasis, the skin condition. Typically, patients develop skin lesions first and after some years, they get diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. The condition causes discomfort and debilitating pain, and sadly, it has no known cure. However, there are some treatment options to control the symptoms and forestall extensive damage to the joints.

Immunosuppressants

Psoriatic arthritis is caused by the immune system attacking healthy tissue and cells in the body. Immunosuppressants help keep the immune system under control, attacking the problem from the source. This, however, is not a cure,  it just alleviates the symptoms. Side effects of immunosuppressants include increased vulnerability to infections.

NSAIDs

NSAIDs are anti-inflammatory drugs. They help alleviate the pain brought on by PA and reduce the inflammation. Common side effects are stomach ulcers, heart problems, and liver and kidney problems.

TNF-alpha inhibitors

The body produces TNF-alpha, an inflammatory substance, naturally. By inhibiting its production, the symptoms are suppressed. Possible side effects of this treatment include increased risk of infections, nausea, diarrhea, and hair loss.

DMARDs

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) have proven effective at slowing the progression of PA and preventing permanent damage in the joints and the tissues. These also have side effects including severe lung infections, liver damage, and bone marrow suppression.

Clinical trials

All the medications above only offer temporary fixes, and they all come with major downsides. Pharmaceutical companies are working hard to provide a safer and more effective treatment for psoriatic arthritis. People who suffer from the condition can partake in their clinical studies for free.

If you have psoriatic arthritis and bDMARDs have not been effective in slowing down the disease, reach out to DM Clinical Research. You may be eligible to take part in a new clinical trial. Call 281-517-0550 now for any inquiries.

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Clinical Trials for Migraines

Migraines are like headaches, but worse. People suffering from the condition often complain of a throbbing and debilitating pain, nausea, and extreme sensitivity to sounds and light. Not a very pleasant way to live. In the US alone, over 38 million people suffer from migraines.

The importance of migraine clinical trials

For a medical condition that affects one billion people worldwide, it is a bit surprising that there is still no outright cure for migraines. You can treat the headaches and make lifestyle changes that help you avoid the triggers, but for now, migraines can’t be cured. However, there are hundreds of clinical trials with the aim of creating a lasting cure. If you are living with migraines, here are some reasons why you should join a clinical trial:

  • Migraines are the 6th most debilitating illness in the world and migraine attacks often last from 4 to 72 hours at a stretch. Over 4 million people have chronic migraines, i.e., 15 days or more of constant pain.
  • By joining a clinical trial, you get access to medications that are not yet available to the public (and won’t be available to the public for years).
  • 90% of migraine patients have a family history of the illness. The condition was likely passed down to you, and chances are high that you will pass it down to an offspring. Finding a cure will help them avoid needless pain.

If you are suffering from migraines and are interested in contributing to the development of a cure, visit DM Clinical to partake in migraine clinical trials at zero cost to you. For any inquiries, call 281-517-0550 immediately.

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The Different Stages of Pancreatic Cancer

Different stages of cancer signify how far the tumor has spread and it helps doctors classify the patient for clinical trials. There are 4 stages of pancreatic cancer, however, it is difficult to tell at what stage the patient is without a major surgical procedure. However, given the dangerous nature of the surgery, doctors often use CT scans and ultrasounds to determine if the cancer is resectable i.e. if it can be removed by surgery. If the scan indicates that it can, then the patient undergoes surgery.

If the cancer is non-resectable, then it could be locally advanced i.e., the tumor has spread to major blood vessels and can no longer be safely removed surgically. It could also be metastatic i.e., the tumor has spread to organs other than the pancreas and therefore, cannot be removed through surgery. There are some clinical trials being used to combat locally advanced and metastatic pancreatic cancer; find out more about clinical trials at DM Clinical Research.

Here are the different stages of pancreatic cancer:

Stage 0: The cancer is restricted to the topmost layers of cells in the pancreas and cannot be seen by the naked eye or through imaging tests. There is little to no spread at this stage.

Stage I: At this stage, the cancer is limited to the pancreas and is less than 2 cm in size (stage IA) or between 2-4 cm (stage IB).

Stage II: The tumor has spread locally and has grown to over 4 cm. The spread is limited to the pancreas and the areas surrounding it.

Stage III:  cancer has spread into major blood vessels and nerves close to the pancreas but not to distant organs.

Stage IV: The spread has reached distant organs.

As with all serious medical conditions, the earlier you diagnose pancreatic cancer, the more promising the prognosis. Common symptoms include jaundice, abdominal or back pain, nausea, weight loss, blood clots, and diabetes.

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Understanding the Migraine Headache

Migraine attacks are the result of a neurological disease and are considered different from other types of headaches. Around 37 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraines, which accounts for 18 percent of women and 7 percent of men.

Migraine Characteristics

A migraine may result in pain on the left side of the head, right side of the head, or all over. The severity of the pain is different for each patient but can result in the inability to work, play sports, drive, etc. A typical migraine will last for a number of hours, with some lasting for several days.

Migraine Causes

There are a number of triggers and symptoms that sufferers may experience from migraine headaches. Aura may result in changes in vision, such as bright flashes. Hyperactivity in certain areas of the brain has been linked to migraine; however, a definitive cause has yet to be established for the condition.

Women are more likely to experience migraines and attacks may flare up around menstruation. There is also a familial susceptibility to migraine, although there is only one condition confirmed as causing migraine episodes. This is known as Familial Hemiplegic Migraine (FHM).

Migraine Diagnosis

Your doctor will seek to establish that a number of common symptoms are present in combination, pointing towards migraine, once similar disorders have been ruled out. Migraine with aura diagnosis requires that the sufferer is experiencing spots, blurs or other changes in vision linked with migraine. For suspected cases of migraine without aura, your doctor will look for at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Smell/Sound/Light sensitivity

DM Clinical Research continues to conduct ground breaking studies into potential treatments and cures for migraine and similar conditions.

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Safe Pain Relief Tips for a Migraine

There is nothing like a migraine headache to ruin your day. These painful headaches are brought on by a variety of triggers. Knowing which triggers you are most susceptible to can help you keep them at bay. Catching a migraine before it has a chance to take hold is the best way to eliminate or minimize the pain and duration of these nasty headaches. Here are a few tips on how you can keep them from ruining your day.

Know Your Triggers

Prevention is an important component of managing migraine headaches. Food, stress, activity levels, lack of sleep and alcohol are among the most common things that can trigger a migraine attack. Discovering your triggers and avoiding them will help keep migraine pain from bringing you down.

Some triggers may be difficult to avoid. For example, odd or strong smells can be triggers. You can keep these odors out of your personal environment, but if you are out and about and you encounter a smell that you cannot get away from you may not have any choice but to endure.

Other triggers are completely within your control. For example, alcohol causes headaches for some people. Avoiding it, even in social situations eliminates having a headache. There are plenty of nonalcoholic beverages in which you can partake. At the same time, be aware that certain foods and food additives may cause headaches also.

Even though you avoid the alcoholic beverages, opting for a nonalcoholic choice that contains red dye may still cause problems if you are sensitive to it.

Stay Cool

An ice pack helps keep the pain from becoming unmanageable if the headache has already taken hold. Use it on your forehead, scalp or the back of your neck to relieve the pain. If you don’t have access to an ice pack, a frozen gel pack or cold washcloth may help. The reduction of blood flow may be the reason this remedy is helpful.

Caffeine May Control Migraine Pain

Many people advocate sipping a caffeinated beverage at the onset of a migraine headache. When you notice the aura that often signals the start of an attack, sipping on a cola or any caffeinated drink may help. Some people have also found dark chocolate with a 65% or more cocoa content to be effective. Don’t overdo it though. Too much caffeine can cause these types of headaches.

Take Care of Your Body

While exercise is good for the body, if it is one of your triggers then you need to tone it down. There are a variety of exercises that can keep you in shape without triggering headaches. Try Pilates or yoga as an alternative work out. The peaceful moves may help keep the headaches away as your mind de-stresses.

Getting enough rest is also important. The body needs a certain amount of rest daily in order to keep functioning well. Lack of sleep can be a trigger for migraine headaches. Schedule your time so you get the optimum rest for your body.

DM Clinical Research is constantly discovering the efficacy of new treatments for various conditions. Contact us to find out if you can participate in one of our many clinical trials.

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New Treatments Approved for Migraine Sufferers

There is no question about the debilitating effects of migraine headaches. For those who are unfortunate enough to experience that discomfort, there is good news. There are clinical studies showing promise for new treatments. One of the newest treatments has already been approved by the FDA.

Targeting the Source

Studies directed at people with migraine headaches revealed that their blood contained high levels of a protein called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). This protein ishighly involved in the onset of migraine headaches. CGRP doesn’t cause migraine headaches; however, it plays a significant role by helping transmit pain signals in the brain. Research revealed the peptide causes nerve cells to increase sensitivity to pain input. If the CGRP could be blocked, the migraine would be stopped before it began.

Some pharmaceutical companies began researching the possibilities for medication in the 1980s; however, concerns over side effects, in particular damage to the liver, terminatedclinical studies in 2011. Four of the companies continued to explore ways in which the CGRP blocker could be administered while bypassing the liver.

If at First You Don’t Succeed. . .

While a pill form proved to be a problem, further research showed to be promising as injections were developed to deliver a monoclonal antibody. These antibodies are tiny immune molecules. They have been useful in treating cancer patients. In the case of blocking CGRP, they bypass the liver and seem to be effective for nearly three months.

The first of these injectable medicines to be approved by the FDA is Erenumab (Aimovig),offering relief to those who suffer with four or more migraines a month. Approved in May, Aimovig was evaluated by the FDA in three different clinical studies. On average, patients experienced two and a half fewer days with migraines.

Ongoing Clinical Studies

Three other drugs are in the process of going through FDA approval. Galcanezumab has completed the Phase III trials and is expected to be approved later this year. Studies are underway to determine if it is also a viable treatment for cluster headaches.

Crenezumab is also being reviewed for prevention of migraines and it is in Phase III for clinical studies for treatment of cluster headaches. The last of the four drugs being considered this year is Eptinezumab. It is also in Phase III trials. This drug is targeting migraine prevention. Submission for FDA approval is expected later this year.

Clinical studies are a critical component of finding an effective treatment for migraine headaches. DM Clinical Research invites you to look into our programs and consider joining one of our clinical studies in the fight against migraine pain. Contact us today for more information.

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