Posts tagged with "osteoarthritis"

New AI app reduces back pain by 40%

Boston based digital therapy startup Kaia Health launches a new app that uses AI and patent pending motion tracking technologyto personalize treatment programs tomanage and treat chronic low back pain(LBP) which has been shown in clinical studies to reduce chronic back pain by 40% and could save the US economy billions each year.

Created by Kaia Health the motion tracking technology requires no additional hardware.The app has been registered as a Class 1 medical device with the FDA which allowsusers to self-manage their back pain through physical exercise, behavioural exercise (e.g. relaxation and meditation) and education.

Earlier this year the digital therapy startup launched the Perfect Squat Challenge App, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence-powered motion tracking fitness app that turns a smartphone into a personal trainer. In Q4 2018 the company intends to roll out20 more motion tracking exercises for the app.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) LBP is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. In fact, according to the American Chiropractic Association(ACA) 31 million Americans experience LBP,and one half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.

The epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse has also led many health groupsincluding the ACA, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Association of Pain Management (AAPM) to reconsider the value of a non-pharmalogicalapproach to common conditions such asLBP.

The ACP, the largest medical specialty society in the world, updated its LBPtreatment guidelines in 2017 to support a conservative approach to care. Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and based on a review of randomized controlled trials and observational studies, the ACPguidelines cite heat therapy, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation (a centerpiece of chiropractic care) as possible options for non-invasive, non-drug therapies for LBP. The guidelines state that only when such treatments provide little or no relief should patients move on to medicines such as ibuprofen or muscle relaxants, which research indicates have limited pain relief effects. According to the ACP, prescription opioids should be a last resort for those suffering from LBP, as the risk of addiction and overdose may outweigh the benefits.

The Kaia app has been developed by aleading digital therapy company Kaia Health in conjunction with physiotherapists, pain management physicians and clinical psychologists.

The app uses a multidisciplinary digital approach which offers users online video-based learning programmes that covereducation, physiotherapy (includingexercises for the lower back and lateral muscles) and psychological strategies(including mindfulness and muscle relaxation).

The AI tailors treatment programs for each user from over 120 exercises, and motion tracking technology ensures that the exercises are performed correctly using a smartphone, tablet or iPad without the need for additional hardware.

Each session lasts for 15 minutes and can be accessed anywhere 24 hours a day. The app also features a chat function whichconnects users to a physiotherapist or sport scientist for motivation and exercise related questions.

Two clinical trials into the Kaia app show a significant reduction in LBP by 40%, well above the clinical threshold of pain improvement. The second study shows a40% long-term retention of users for aminimum of 6 months.

The Kaia app was developed in Germanywhere it has been downloaded over 100,000 times in its first year. The Kaia app is now being reimbursed for over 20 million patients globally.

Kaia Health is member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA), an association of international manufacturers for digital therapeutic products that are evidence-based.

Konstantin Mehl, CEO of Kaia Health says:Opioid addiction and overdose is a huge issue in the US, and is, according to the ACP, a last resort for those suffering from LBP. Their 2017 LBP treatment guidelines support a non-pharmalogical approach to care using non-invasive, non-drug therapies. A holistic, multidisciplinary treatment of LBPhas always been a resource-intense, costlyundertaking which makes it hard forpatients to get access to the therapy.However, with the Kaia app we’re digitising therapy which offers as many patients as possible access to effective treatment ofLBP. This empowers and motivatesindividuals to take control, and self-manage their condition with evidenced-based, non-pharmacological, cost-effective alternatives and this could save the US economy billions each year. The Kaia app, and advances in technology, demonstrates why we need to rethink how we treat diseaseconditions such as LBP, and make digitalself-management a more realistic part of treatment.

The Kaia app is available on iOS and Android, and can be downloaded via GooglePlay and AppStore. The first 7 days of the program are free. To unlock the full functionality the costs are: 3 months: $23.99, 6 months: $64.99 and 12 months: $94.99.

About Kaia Health www.kaia-health.com
Founded in 2016, Kaia Health is a leading digital therapy company that creates evidence-based treatments for a range of disorders including back pain, Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Kaia Health uses innovative technology including artificial intelligence and apps, and works with experts in each medical field to create an interdisciplinary digital approach. This empowers and motivates individuals to take control and self-manage their condition with effective, non-pharmacological, digital alternatives at low costs.

CBD: An Alternative to Prescription Drugs?

In the modern world, our first approach to treating an illness is to find the most suitable pharmaceutical drug, which we typically get either over-the-counter or on prescription. However, while these medicines are normally effective, they can unlock a whole new box of issues, including dependency and side effects.

Becoming reliant on medication can be mentally unsettling, and nasty side effects like nausea and dizziness typically require further treatment, leaving patients on a cocktail of pharmaceutical-grade drugs before they know it.

In the case of opioid painkillers, dependency may even be life-threatening, with the risk of overdose frighteningly high. In 2016, abuse of prescription opioid painkillers and recreational opiates accounted for more than 40,000 US lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This cycle of illness, drugs, side effects and more drugs is wearing thin with many, and combined with the new wave of medical cannabis science, a clear divide has formed between those who favor prescription drugs, and those who’d rather take natural, plant-based medicines.

From a historical perspective, medicinal cannabis use makes perfect sense, with the herb being used for millennia across the world, but particularly in Africa and Asia.

Technological advancements have greatly developed our knowledge of cannabis, and scientists now know which compounds are responsible for various effects. For example, the psychoactive “high” mostly comes from a therapeutic cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, numerous other cannabinoids have medicinal properties, sans the hallucinogenic effects.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most studied and seemingly most useful non-intoxicating cannabinoid, and the market for CBD products has exploded in the 2010s, thanks in part to the relaxation of laws surrounding non-psychoactive hemp.

CBD over opioids
Opioid-based painkillers like Tramadol are now regularly prescribed for chronic pain, with stronger synthetic drugs such as fentanyl available on prescription for the most extreme discomfort. These drugs are designed to interact with opioid receptors in the opioid system. The pain relief from these drugs is substantial, however sustained use leads to increased tolerance, stronger doses and addiction.

However, CBD may be helpful for chronic patients, and also those who have ended up dependent on opioids, as the cannabinoid seems to exhibit anti-addiction properties by interfering with pleasure-reward mechanisms.

By elevating concentrations of anandamide in the body, CBD is promoting a neurotransmitter that works to ease both physical and mental pain. How CBD tackles addiction is less clear, but some evidence indicates that CBD is active in the opioid system.

Not all pain is the same – for example, some chronic pain is persistent and always at a similar intensity, whereas the worst effects of inflammatory and neuropathic pain tend to come from flare-ups.

For internal neuropathic pain, CBD vape oil and e-liquid treatment is ideal, because the relief comes very quickly. Meanwhile, lingering pain is economically and perhaps more efficiently managed by orally-consumed CBD products (e.g. capsules, edibles, coffee).

Experimenting with gels, creams and balms infused with cannabis or CBD is a novel method of coping with localized pain. These ensure that the cannabinoid receptors in the affected area are directly activated.

CBD: the new anti-inflammatory drug?
Immune system response is still not well that understood, and this has made it difficult to control. Researchers have struggled to find ways of influencing inflammation, but studies into the endocannabinoid system have found that immune system response is accessible via cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Endocannabinoids look to signal a stoppage in inflammation, after a wound has fully healed or an infection is neutralized.

This discovery may be crucial, as the current leading class of anti-inflammatories (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs) are known to cause concerning side effects, including stomach ulcers.

The best CBD product for inflammation depends, unsurprisingly on the type of inflammation. Internal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which could be exacerbated by endocannabinoid deficiency, respond well to both CBD vape juice and CBD edibles, or even tincture oils.

For osteoarthritis, a form of inflammation which affects the joints, CBD creams and other topicals are likely to produce better results.

CBD’s promise as an antidepressant
Cannabinoid research is providing genuine hope for antidepressant researchers, after decades of stagnation in medication development. The current situation with depression medicine is far from ideal, with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) slow to show benefits – for up to 40 percent of patients, these drugs may not even work at all. And then there are the side effects to contend with, which range from drowsiness to impotence. Depersonalization and derealization have also been anecdotally reported with SSRIs.

However, a glut of promising studies on CBD and the brain have found that the ECS could be important in correcting off-balance brain chemistry. The CB1 receptor modulates many variables, mood being one, and the bond between anandamide and this receptor is important for good mental wellbeing. Factors outside of the ECS also affect mood, but the potency of anandamide as an antidepressant makes the link with the CB1 receptor an essential one.

Some of the most exciting research on cannabinoids has been on their neuroprotective and neurogenesis properties. Studies on the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex and cannabinoid treatments, which are associated with depression, have demonstrated that CBD is able to repair these regions of the brain, by restoring neuronal circuitry and helping to form new brain cells.

A 2018 study on rats carried out in Brazil showed that CBD was effective from the first treatment and for up to seven days after the last dose at blocking synaptic proteins which damage neuronal circuitry in the prefrontal cortex. Meanwhile, CBD-initiated neurogenesis in the hippocampus helps to regrow the brains of adult rats with depression. These results have not yet been replicated in humans, but rats are used for such studies because their brains are similar to humans. General memories and our autobiographical memory are stored in the hippocampus.

The only CBD products that aren’t suitable for managing depression are topicals, as the cannabinoids remain in the skin, and do not reach the brain.