Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Google Trends for Platelet Rich Plasma Rose 107% Last Week

The interest in Platelet Rich Plasma  (PRP) rose dramatically last week according to Google Trends.  This autologous biologic product and treatment continues to gain traction as a simple way to address challenging problems such as chronic tennis elbow.  As more clinicians, researchers and patients gain experience with it, better formulations and protocols will be developed to treat injuries and disorders safely and effectively.

We are now in the second decade of using PRP therapeutically and this trend is a signpost of worldwide interest.  This interest will also spark new innovations surrounding the use of blood therapeutically.

Patients and even payers will benefit from blood based breakthroughs because many newer biologic procedures will be as or more effective than surgery and less costly.

Total Tendon

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Helps Patients

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) has been used now for more than a decade to treat a variety of orthopedic conditions.  Hundreds of thousands of patients have been treated with a stellar safety record.  The efficacy of PRP has evolved over the years but there are now multiple randomized controlled trials supporting the use of PRP.  This data has been presented at major medical conferences all over the world and published in peer reviewed elite journals such as the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Below are the highlights from a few of the published papers:

Large Randomized Controlled Trial using PRP for Chronic Tennis Elbow Patients
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2014 

82.1% had successful treatment using PRP  compared to 60.3% in the active control group at six months.  (P = 0.008)  (See Figure)

There was also significantly less elbow tenderness in the PRP treated patients compared to the active control group at six months. (P = 0.009)

PRP Beats Cortisone for Chronic Tennis Elbow at 2 year Follow up
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2011 (100 patient trial)
Patients treated with PRP had dramatically better success rates at 2 years compared to cortisone.
(P < 0.001)

These two trials used the same protocol and same PRP device (Biomet GPS PRP).  There were no significant complications in either study.   Successfully treated patients were able to avoid more invasive and expensive surgical interventions.  This is clear evidence supporting the use of PRP for chronic tennis elbow.

PRP More Effective than Placebo in the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2013 (156 knees)
50% improvement in pain scores was noted using PRP compared to worsening of pain in the placebo group at 6 months.  (P < 0.001)

There are now over 7400 references to PRP on PubMed with more than 500 publications last year alone.  This is an indication of the worldwide interest in this topic.   There are literally hundreds of published papers supporting the use of PRP and other blood components to treat disease.  More research and development will always be needed but using a patient's own blood to treat their injuries and disorders simply makes intuitive and scientific sense.  

Patients and providers with experience with platelet rich plasma or other biologic treatments are encouraged to post comments below.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tennis Elbow Stretches

Tennis elbow is a very common problem.  Most often it can be treated with rest, activity modification and some simple exercises.

Check out the TotalTendon Tennis Elbow Stretching Protocol.

In future posts, I will demonstrate a strengthening protocol and discuss other treatment options.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Proposition 46 Jeopardizes California Medical Excellence

California offers its citizens excellent health care.  It has over 100,000 hard working physicians dedicated to taking superior care of their patients in conjunction with well-trained nurses, medical assistants, technicians and support personnel. (Ref)  According to US News and World Report, 17 of California's hospitals are nationally ranked in specialities such as oncology, cardiology and orthopedic surgery.  Fifty-six other hospitals meet standards for strong performance within the state. (Ref

Proposition 46 is a direct threat to our superior California healthcare.   It would undermine a physician’s ability to best care for patients and result in dramatically higher costs—$9.9 billion annually according to one study (Ref)   Doctors already concerned about malpractice would face increased pressure to practice defensive medicine.  If this measure passes it will also be difficult to recruit and retain specialists who are in high risk specialties including OB/GYN, trauma surgery and neurosurgery. 

Proposition 46 further creates a disincentive for physicians to implement novel solutions to challenging diseases.   Medical innovation is needed to attack arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and the emerging Ebola epidemic.  If Proposition 46 passes, physicians will be less inclined to pursue new transformative solutions for fear of being sued and medical innovation will stall.  Instead of California physicians and hospitals being recognized as worldwide leaders in medicine, we may no longer be able to offer patients cutting-edge care within our state.   

Unfortunately, many Californians are unaware of the significant issues that will arise if Proposition 46 passes.  Over the past several months, I have had discussions with dozens of people about 46 and have been surprised at how little they know about this onerous proposition.  Their lack of awareness is frustrating because the trial lawyers completely understand the implications of the proposition they drafted.  As we approach the upcoming election, I strongly urge California residents to read and analyze proposition 46.    Prop 46 Info

One concern imbedded in the proposition that should be addressed is the need to curtail multiple prescriptions from being written and filled by deceptive patients.  The solution to this problem is not to pass the three-headed monster known as Proposition 46.  The better answer is to improve tracking technologies such as CURES that eliminate duplicate prescriptions from being ordered or filled at a pharmacy and at the same time increase the criminal penalties for patients that fraudulently try to  
obtain multiple narcotic prescriptions.

If you wish for California to maintain its worldwide leadership in the delivery of outstanding medical care, I urge you to Vote NO on Proposition 46.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Survivor Blood to be used as an Ebola Treatment

The Ebola epidemic is spreading and there is no cure.  Treatment options even in the United States are limited because there are no approved drugs and even the supply of experimental ones have been exhausted.  (See Washington Post Article)

Is it possible that blood could cure Ebola?

That is exactly what the New York Times (read full article here) is reporting as a possible treatment.  The concept is actually pretty simple.  Patients who have been infected with Ebola and survive develop antibodies to the virus.  These virus destroying proteins live in the serum of the blood.  A transfusion of serum or perhaps even whole blood may be the best option as a stop gap measure to treat the expanding number of patients with the disease.  The World Health Organization even has a specific guidance document on the topic.  (WHO convalescent blood for Ebola)

In this space over many years, I have discussed how to use blood therapeutically for regenerative medicine.  Discussions about platelet-rich plasma, bone marrow concentrates and stem cells from peripheral blood have focus primarily on orthopedic injuries and disorders.  Blood as a treatment for Ebola will receive more attention in this blog.  Anyone with blood expertise of any kind should do whatever they can to help.  Please post comments or send me information about how blood is being used to treat Ebola:   @bloodcure on Twitter.

The potential restorative powers of blood are considerable and if it is possible to stop the epidemic or at least slow it down by using the serum of survivors as a treatment, we should do everything we can do execute on that strategy in addition to pursuing containment, supportive care, and experimental drugs.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Concussions and the Michigan Football Program

Was he briefly knocked out?

It is appalling what happened on the Michigan football field last weekend.  A young man, quarterback Shane Morris, already suffering from an ankle injury, gets absolutely rocked by a blitzing defender.  The video shows how Morris's head snaps back and he falls to the ground like a rag doll.
(Detroit Free Press Article with videos)

It is absurd to excuse anyone on the Michigan sidelines for not knowing that Shane Morris may have had a concussion on that play because a major roughing the passer penalty was called.  He was also clearly staggering.  I am a double Michigan alumni (BS, MD) and love the school and its athletics.  I have also been on the sidelines of many high school, collegiate and professional football games as one of the team physicians.  The reason the physicians are there is to watch the game and scan the players for any real or potential injuries during or after each play.  It is difficult to understand why a serious roughing the passer penalty was not a clear indication for Morris to be evaluated especially before reinserting him into the game.

It is equally amazing that Hoke did not know about the potential extent of the injury the day after the game.  He may be incompetent as a coach given Michigan's record over the last few years but he is clearly dangerous when it comes to executing his responsibilities to protect his players.

What is even more telling than the even the video are still shots from the video.  

Initial Hit

Head Snaps Back

Clearly he sustained some head trauma

At the very least, Michigan needs better injury procedures in place and a coach that isn't frankly dangerous to his players' short and long term health.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PowerKnee Hamstring Stretch Video

Hamstring stretching is crucial for your knee and overall leg function.  Too often this simple exercise is ignored or done only occasionally.  In order to improve flexibility and function of your knee, hamstring stretching should be done multiple times per day.

The video below is a simple one minute instructional video about how to perform the PowerKnee Hamstring Stretch.  It is demonstrated at a track but this stretch can be done by simply placing your foot and leg on a chair, step or other support.  

Check out the video  for details about how to perform the PowerKnee Hamstring Stretch,  As always, please consult your personal physician prior to beginning any exercise protocol.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kobe returns to Germany for another Knee Arthritis Treatment
Kobe Bryant returned to Germany this past week to be treated with a blood derived treatment (Orthokine) again for his knee.  He has had this treatment in the past at least twice before.  It involves drawing blood and incubating it over a 24 hour period and then reinjecting a component of blood that has anti-inflammatory properties.  It is similar but not exactly the same as platelet-rich plasma therapy.  It would be most interesting to learn about how this has helped him over the years and in what specific ways. He clearly has thousands of miles of basketball on his knees and is also recovering from multiple other injuries.  We do not, however, have any data about the status of his knee cartilage or joint before or after any of these treatments.  Here is a detailed description of the "Orthokine" treatment.  

Kobe has with his travel and his wallet voted in favor of this treatment.  It will be quite interesting to see how he plays this year in the NBA.   It will also be instructive to follow Kobe's future medical interventions as a way of measuring the value of the one he just had in Germany.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Biologic Orthopedics, Forbes, Sports Illustrated and ESPN

This week the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia has organized a meeting dedicated to exploring biologic orthopedics and sports medicine in a unique format.  The group has invited researchers and clinicians from around the world to participate with elite media representatives from Forbes, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN among others.  Dr. Noriyki Tsumaki from the the 2012 Nobel Prize winning CIRA Center in Kyoto Japan will also be lecturing.  Discussion about the FDA regulation and economics of biologic orthopedics will also occur.

Stem Cell and Biologics in Sports Medicine Summit

The meeting represents a special opportunity to bring together a unique group of individuals that are interested in how to best treat tendonitis, arthritis and other orthopedic conditions with stem cells, platelet rich plasma and other biologic therapies.  The moderators of the scientific panels will be editors from world renowned publications.  I expect to have spirited discussions about the state of the art in 2014 in addition to perhaps identifying novel pathways that lead to transformative treatments for professional, collegiate and weekend warrior athletes.

I will report my finding in this space and will tweet out real time information via:  @BloodCure


Monday, September 01, 2014

Why patients are seeking out platelet rich plasma and other biologic treatments.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) and adult stem cell treatments derived from bone marrow are rapidly evolving into the mainstream of medicine.  As you can see from the chart above, the number of hits for "platelet rich plasma" is rising dramatically.  There are also over 7400 PRP references on  Let's explore why.

Patients are seeking out less invasive treatments.  When presented with the option of surgery or an office procedure, patients typically will choose the office procedure.  Surgery often carries significant more risk and certainly more cost.

Patients want to return to sports, work or life as quickly as possible.
Botox and Lasik eye surgery provide patients with almost immediate improvement for wrinkles and vision.  Patients now expect other specialities to deliver similar almost instantaneous success.   Elite athletes are especially interested in returning to the highest level of function as quickly as possible.  They have been one of the primary drivers of PRP and other biologic treatments.

Patients are dissatisfied with the surgical treatments we have been offering them.
This is particularly true when it comes to knee arthritis.  Presently, there is very little definitive evidence supporting the use of many common treatments and there is a Grand Canyon size hole in our ability to effectively manage tens of millions of patients.  Biologic therapies will likely fill this void within the next five years.

Patients intuitively understand the regenerative abilities of your own blood and bone marrow.  Evidence is mounting across a several specialties supporting the use of blood and bone marrow to treat a variety of conditions.  A new study will begin this fall evaluating the utility of giving Alzheimer's patients blood transfusions from healthy volunteers under 30.  (Stanford Blood-Alzheimer's study)

Patients are willing to be treated without perfect supporting data.
Patients do not often understand the need for large clinical trials and are impatient with the time and effort it takes to generate meaningful clinical data.  The use of their own blood (PRP) or bone marrow simply make sense to them and they are willing and often eager to try a new treatment instead of undergo surgery.

We are presently scrambling to figure out how to develop, execute and pay for the clinical trials needed to best understand how to utilize biologic orthopedic therapies.  The good news is:  hundreds of clinicians, researchers and medical device professionals are working diligently on dozens of new treatment options.

Please post any comments about why you may think patients and clinicians are using PRP, stem cells or other biologic treatments.

AM   (@BloodCure on Twitter)

Friday, August 08, 2014

Billion Second Challenge

“Billion Second Challenge” 
How would I live if I treated every second as precious? 

This is a post about time, not regenerative medicine.

A shiny crimson card was waiting in my snail mail pile when I returned from a special birthday vacation.  I actually had to Google “AARP” to confirm the acronym stood for “American Association of Retired Persons”.  Did this new piece of bloody colored plastic mean I am now “retired”?  Or, did it simply confirm I am officially old and beyond the highly desirable 18-49 demographic?

I quickly picked a number out of the air and said to myself, I’ll make it to 85 years old.  That would mean I have about 35 years left. That is 12,775 days, 306,600 hours, 18 million minutes or about 1.1 billion seconds.  It turns out the Social Security Actuarial Life Table pegs my remaining time at 29.45 more years or about 928 million seconds.  I, therefore, averaged the two numbers and came up with about one billion seconds left on the planet.

To sharpen my time focus, I have started measuring how I spend my seconds.  Each 1000 seconds equals about 17 minutes.  Each 10,000 seconds equals about 3 hours.

Simply measuring how you spend your seconds, much like calorie counting, will alter your behavior. 

How would I live if I treated every second as precious? 

Perhaps you have more or less seconds left in your life than me.  Carefully consider how you spend them.  

I call it the Billion Second Challenge

Post suggestions about how to best spend your next hundred, thousand, million or billion seconds and please share this post with your connections.

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