This week’s health issue: Tackle arthritis head on

With one in five people in the UAE suffering from arthritis, it’s time to take preventative measures against this debilitating condition. Rheumatoid arthritis, for instance, is a chronic inflammatory arthritis with a higher likelihood of permanent disability. Because the disease is commonly presumed to be a type of arthritis, awareness is lacking, causing problems with disability, clinical care, and research funding. In the UAE alone, studies have shown a delay of 12 months in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis due to lack of awareness of the disease. With early diagnosis, treatment deformity and disability can be prevented.

In honour of World Arthritis Day on October 13, the Middle East Arthritis Foundation (MEAF) will host a free public event featuring sessions with a life coach, free ultrasounds and healthy eating demonstrations, among other activities.

Dr Humeira Badsha, founding member of MEAF explains. “The activities at this year’s World Arthritis Day event have been designed to support people living with arthritis to take control of this condition, and take positive steps to overcome challenges to live a healthy and active lifestyle.”

“It is vital that we listen to the constantly evolving needs of people living with arthritis and other chronic conditions to help reduce their pain and improve their quality of life,” she adds.

Don’t miss it: The event is at Shangri-La Dubai, on October 13, from 9am-6pm. Register for the event activities on 050 534 31 82; visit

In the news: New protein to battle deadly effects of the flu

With the changing weather and start of the school year, the flu season seems to be well under way. But there is good news from researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who have identified a small protein called retrocyclin-101 (RC-101) that could potentially improve the symptoms and mortality associated with the flu and possibly other types of infectious illness. As a potential drug candidate, RC-101 is unique in that it not only targets the influenza virus, but also the harmful inflammation it causes.

Right now, there could be 50,000,000,000 bacteria in your mouth

The mouth is home to millions of tiny little organisms that make up oral microflora. Up to 1,000 different types of bacteria and 80 different fungi live in your mouth, and at any point in time, the mouth may be harbouring between 10 to 50 billion bacteria. Many of these bacteria are responsible for causing cavities in the teeth and gum problems. Oral microbes found in the mouth are fast and furious, and only take around four to five hours for the bacteria in the mouth to double. Is that enough data to convince you to practice oral hygiene?

*source: Oral-B

Medical term of the week: Ichthyosis

Ever heard of alligator skin, porcupine skin or fish skin? No, not the animal kind, the human kind. Ichthyosis, from the Greek “ichthys” meaning fish, refers to a group of skin disorders characterised by dry, rectangular scales on the skin. While there is no cure for ichthyosis, it can be managed with the right treatment.

Medical gadget of the week: FreeStyle Libre

Why prick when you can scan? The days of routine glucose testing with lancets, test strips and blood are over. Abbott’s new flash glucose monitor – FreeStyle Libre - is designed to read the glucose levels through a long-lasting personal glucose sensor that can be self-applied on the back of the upper arm for up to ten days. The Starter Pack is $214 (Dh786) at