AACR Recap, Osteoarthritis and your Gut (Abstract Science: April 16 - 20)
Jillian Scola

AACR Recap, Osteoarthritis and your Gut (Abstract Science: April 16 - 20)

AACR news, the connection between your gut microbiome and osteoarthritis, and could listening to music help tackle high pressure? 

Highlights from AACR

Earlier this week, more than 50 of our scientists and staff  attended the American Association for Cancer Research, a conference which highlights the best cancer science and medicine from institutions all over the world. One of the biggest news stories to come out of the annual meeting was the trial data regarding Keytruda. The trial, which compared a combination of chemo and Merck’s blockbuster Keytruda against chemo alone, found that patients in the combo group were 51 percent more likely to be alive after one year. Those getting Merck’s drug were also 48 percent less likely to have their cancer progress in the same period.

Continue to check our blog for continued AACR 18 coverage.

The Bugs in your Gut could Make you Weak in the Knees

(Medical Press, 4/19/2018, University of Rochester Medical Center)

One of my favorite topics to write about is the gut microbiome. It turns out that your gut microbiome could be the culprit behind arthritis and joint pain that plagues people who are obese, a new study suggests. Osteoarthritis, a common side effect of obesity, is the greatest cause of disability in the US, affecting 31 million people. Sometimes called "wear and tear" arthritis, osteoarthritis in people who are obese was long assumed to simply be a consequence of undue stress on joints. But researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center provide the first evidence that bacteria in the gut—governed by diet—could be the key driving force behind osteoarthritis. The scientists found that obese mice had more harmful bacteria in their guts compared to lean mice, which caused inflammation throughout their bodies, leading to very rapid joint deterioration. While a common prebiotic supplement did not help the mice shed weight, it completely reversed other symptoms, making the guts and joints of obese mice indistinguishable from lean mice.

Blood Pressure Drugs Work Best with Musical Accompaniment


Listening to music heightens the beneficial effects of blood pressure–lowering drugs, according to the results of a study by scientists in Brazil and the U.K. The team, coordinated by Vitor Engrácia Valenti, PhD., a professor in the Speech Language Pathology Department of UNESP Marília's School of Philosophy & Sciences in Brazil, found that hypertension patients who listened to music immediately after taking their regular blood pressure medications experienced greater reductions in heart rate and blood pressure than control patients who didn’t listen to music. The concept that making lifestyle changes can represent a “primary preventive” of hypertension has gained increasing attention, the authors write, and music therapy as a complementary approach is being investigated in the context of both cardiovascular physiology and antihypertension treatment.


—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola