THE RESEARCH

Anti-inflammatory agents are now commonly being incorporated into skin care products to improve skin tone and texture while reducing the appearance of aging.

The number of individuals suffering from chronic pain is rising at a substantial pace. Analysis of data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that most American adults have experienced some level of pain, from brief to more lasting (chronic) pain, and from relatively minor to more severe pain.6F It found that an estimated 25.3 million adults (11.2 percent) experience chronic pain—that is, they had pain every day for the preceding 3 months. Nearly 40 million adults (17.6 percent) experience severe levels of pain. Those with severe pain are also likely to have worse health status.

  • An estimated 23.4 million adults (10.3%) experience a lot of pain
  • An estimated 126 million adults (55.7%) reported some type of pain in the 3 months prior to the survey

Inflammation has long been a well-known symptom of many infectious diseases, but molecular and epidemiological research increasingly suggests that it is also intimately linked with a broad range of non-infectious diseases, perhaps even all of them. Although these insights might not lead to a unified theory of disease, the crucial role of inflammatory processes makes possible the development of a new generation of drugs to treat conditions including cancers, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases.

There are scores of anti-inflammatory agents on the market, ranging from plain old aspirin to high-tech bioengineered molecules for treating asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Long-term use of NSAIDs is a balancing act, because while it may keep the fires of inflammation burning low, it can also cause stomach bleeding and liver and kidney damage. The COX-2 inhibitors, especially rofecoxib (Vioxx), have been linked to increased heart attack risk.

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