Research yields options for arthritis treatment
Monday, Sep 9th 2013

In conditions where environmental control systems are crucial, scientists can make considerable breakthroughs to help society. There have recently been two research reports showing key elements for beating arthritis. One claims to have isolated a protein that causes the ailment and can therefore create medication to subdue it, while the other shows a homegrown remedy using broccoli to deter the ailment.

Arthritis creates a lot of pain for people with the condition. Although the ailment typically affects people as they age, any individual can get it. Australian researchers have narrowed the affliction down to a protein, MLKL, that triggers necroptosis in dying cells, which instruct the immune system to respond with inflammation, according to the Daily Express. This breakthrough provides the first proof linking the protein as one of the direct causes of the ailment, making it easier to target treatment for the condition. As the scientists are trying to narrow down the protein to a molecular image, they can begin testing solutions for it, as well as potentially develop medicine for other chronic inflammatory diseases.

"We discovered that MLKL needs to be switched on before it can activate necroptosis," said Dr. James Murphy of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne. "MLKL could therefore be a perfect target for treatments because it is different from almost every other cell-signaling protein, making it easier to develop highly specific drugs and limiting potential side effects."

Is broccoli a deterrent?
While individuals with arthritis may have to wait for the medication to be produced, they can eat broccoli to prevent the condition from spreading. According to new research from the U.K.'s University of East Anglia, the vegetable may be able to slow down damage from arthritis and potentially even stop it from developing altogether, the Daily Express reported. Broccoli produces a high amount of sulforaphane which can block a molecule known to cause inflammation. Researchers have also stipulated that the chemical has properties to deter cancer, however, there have been no previous studies conducted regarding its effects in joint health.

"The results from this study are very promising," lead scientist Professor Ian Clark told the source. "We have shown this works in the three laboratory models we have tried, in human cartilage cells, cow tissue and mice."

As this method can be used immediately until a treatment has been solidified, there are a few best practices for storing broccoli. For fresh, raw vegetables, they should be kept in an environment between 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, according to University of California - Davis Postharvest Technology Center. Using a temperature monitor can help ensure that consumers are getting the most out of their produce. Many typically store broccoli unwashed in a plastic bag, where it can remain fresh 5-14 days depending on the fridge's conditions. Freezing the broccoli can help it to remain consumable up to 18 months, however, the produce is more susceptible to bacterial decay.

Both new research reports have promised short-term and potential long-term solutions for the arthritis ailment that has affected many individuals. Although it may take a while for the medication to be developed to treat the condition, eating broccoli as a regular part of the diet may be an easy solution in the meantime.