What is Raynaud’s phenomenon? Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition that causes the blood vessels in the hands and feet to narrow, decreasing blood flow. When this happens, parts of the body—usually the fingers and toes—become cold and numb, and change color (usually, to white or blue). An attack usually happens from exposure to cold or stress.
Is your back hurting? You’re in good company. In any 3-month period, about 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has at least one day of back pain, mostly in the lower back. The back is a complicated structure. Its center is the spine, which is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae, stacked in a column. The nerves of the spinal cord run in a tunnel through the middle of those bones. Spongy discs between the vertebrae act as cushions. Ligaments and tendons hold everything together. A lot of things can go wrong with your back. A strained muscle
What is osteonecrosis? Your bones are made up of living cells that need a blood supply to stay healthy. In osteonecrosis, blood flow to part of a bone is reduced. This causes death of bone tissue, and the bone can eventually break down and the joint will collapse. Osteonecrosis can happen to any bone, but most often it develops in the ends of long bones, such as the: Thigh bone. Upper arm bone. Less often, the bones of the elbows, ankles, feet, wrists, and hands are affected. When the disease involves part of a bone in a joint, it can
What is vitiligo? Vitiligo is a chronic (long-lasting) disorder that causes areas of skin to lose color. When skin cells that make color are attacked and destroyed, the skin turns a milky-white color. No one knows what causes vitiligo, but it may be an autoimmune disease. In people with autoimmune diseases, the immune cells attack the body’s own healthy tissues by mistake, instead of viruses or bacteria. A person with vitiligo sometimes may have family members who also have the disease. There is no cure for vitiligo, but treatment may help skin tone appear more even.
What is ankylosing spondylitis? Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in certain parts of the spine. Over time, this inflammation in the joints and tissues of the spine can cause stiffness. In severe cases, this may cause the bones in the spine to grow together, which can lead to a rigid spine that is difficult to bend. Many people with ankylosing spondylitis have mild episodes of back pain and stiffness that come and go. But others have severe, ongoing back pain and stiffness. Other symptoms also may develop if other areas of the body are affected
A bioengineered molecule designed to bind together key components found in the fluid that surrounds joint areas may improve lubrication and minimize friction. This could potentially slow the degeneration of cartilage tissue that occurs in knee osteoarthritis, according to a study conducted in rats and funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The study was published in Nature Materials. The synovial fluid that bathes our joints is composed of several types of lubricants, including hyaluronic acid (HA) and lubricin. In healthy joints, this fluid ensures that tissues move together smoothly and without
Altering a key protein involved in the development of vitiligo may protect against—or even reverse—the pigmentation loss associated with the skin disorder in mice, according to recent research funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Vitiligo is a progressive autoimmune disease in which the skin cells that impart color (melanocytes) are destroyed, resulting in white patches on the face, hands and other parts of the body. Scientists are unsure what causes vitiligo. They are investigating the biological mechanisms that trigger the disease, as well as its
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a team of scientists has detected structural changes in the knee joint that precede signs of osteoarthritis seen on X-rays. The study, which was supported in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), calls into question the assumption that damage to cartilage is the primary underlying cause of osteoarthritis. The findings appeared in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology.