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News briefs

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NSAIDs don’t stop back pain

A systematic review from the George Institute for Global Health has found that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) commonly used to treat back pain provide little benefit, but cause side effects. Published in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease, the review, which examined 35 trials involving more than 6000 people, found that only one in six patients treated with NSAIDs achieved any significant reduction in pain. Patients taking NSAIDs were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from gastro-intestinal problems such as stomach ulcers and bleeding. Most clinical guidelines currently recommend NSAIDs as the second line analgesics after paracetamol, with opioids coming at third choice. Lead author Associate Professor Manuela Ferreira said the review highlighted an urgent need to develop new therapies to treat back pain. “When you factor in the side effects which are very common, it becomes clear that these drugs are not the answer to providing pain relief to the many millions of Australians who suffer from this debilitating condition every year.”

Gene discovery could prevent onset of MD

An international group including researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research has found that mutations in a gene called SMCHD1 can cause a rare syndrome called bosma arhinia microphthalmia syndrome (BAMS), in which the nose fails to form during…