4 Ways To Optimize Your Applicant Tracking System

Having an applicant tracking system (ATS) can make your company’s recruiting process easier and more efficient than ever. By optimizing your ATS and configuring user-friendly tools, you no longer have to wait for the perfect applicants to come to you. Instead, your system can help identify the most qualified candidates, so you can hire new employees in a quick and efficient manner.

Below are four ways you can optimize your ATS for ideal job candidates.

  1. Collaborate Tools

Ensure that you’re using an ATS with proper collaboration tools. Such tools include which enables hiring managers to make decisions, share notes, and provide interview feedback online. Easy-to-read dashboards help control recruiting programs and analytics dashboards give access to at-a-glance data that’s related to recruiting performance.

Tools such as these help to improve collaboration and effective communication within the hiring process, so that your company can better avoid hiring failure. With a collaborative ATS, recruiters, hiring managers, and others all have access to the same, up-to-date information which prevents confusion and enables the hiring process to be both accurate and effective.

2. Improve Workflow

Whether you’re an employer looking for a new hire or the director of a recruiting company, you’ve likely experienced the errors and mistakes that commonly occur during the hiring process. Though mistakes like forgetting where a prospective applicant is in the hiring process or neglecting to follow up with a particular applicant are common, they can greatly hinder the efforts to finding a suitable candidate.

Optimize your ATS by creating custom workflow statuses that help you refine and better maintain workflow. From reviewing a resume and scheduling the first interview to sending the applicant a skill assessment or request for a second interview, a customizable ATS lets you keep track of exactly where each candidate is in the hiring process. Optimizing your ATS to improve workflow will also let you monitor how long it’s been since you’ve last made contact with the candidate, so you can stay present and prevent losing individuals that could be the perfect fit for the job.

3. Focus On Fundamentals

Hiring adequate employees can be tricky, especially if you’re solely focusing on how individuals look on paper or if they’ve included particular keywords within their application. Frankly, resumes and keywords won’t provide you with the candidate you’re looking for. Instead, use your ATS to target the fundamentals that make individuals fitting for the job.

As previously mentioned, optimizing your ATS can help you save valuable time on internal collaboration, candidate communication, and current job postings. This means you’ll have the time and resources you need to focus on the fundamentals involved in hiring and learn more about prospective applicants through phone screenings or social network monitoring. You can also used optimized tools like video interviewing to get a better idea of who the person is behind the resume.

4. Open Applicant Access

Have you had past trouble filling positions with the right person? As a business professional, chances are you have. And while many employers blame this void on the lack of skilled candidates, chances are your subpar, out-dated ATS played a role too. By optimizing your ATS, candidates won’t have to struggle through a lengthy, stringent, difficult application process. Instead, they’ll have have the same simple, custom experience that you do.

By using your ATS to customize job-specific questions, update job descriptions, and personalize requirements, you can prevent unnecessary barriers from deterring qualified applicants. With an optimized ATS, you’ll have access to every candidate who could fill the job requirements and they’ll have access to a quick and easy application process.  

5 Reasons Why You Need WordPress Hosting

WordPress is a very easy platform to use as well as being extremely popular. You can install it on virtually any Linux-based hosting service, as long as it supports PHP and MySQL. There are also specialized WordPress hosting services available from top providers. WP-Engine and GoDaddy, for example, both offer WordPress hosting with pre-installed version of WordPress ready to be used. So, do you really need specialized WordPress hosting? Here are 5 reasons why you do.

  1. WordPress Optimized Server

The first and probably the most important reason why WordPress hosting is a good idea when you are starting a new site using WordPress is performance. Unlike conventional hosting services (have you seen the host monster reviews out there?…), WordPress hosting is pre-configured to work really well with WordPress. You get a number of features that other hosting services may not offer.

For starters, Memcache or other server-side caching is usually used to boost the performance of your WordPress site. Since caching can really help speed up your site massively, this a feature that can be very handy to have. Of course you don’t always need to rely on your web hosting provider to enable this for you. You could attempt it yourself. Some WordPress hosting also comes with Nginx pre-installed, allowing your site to handle a large number of traffic without even flinching.

Hosting services optimized for WordPress also work well with other WordPress plugins, including plugins that handle CDN (Content Distribution Networks) and various other advanced features. Configuring these plugins to work with the WordPress hosting server should not be difficult at all.

  1. Affordable Hosting Costs

You can now get your WordPress site running smoothly for as little as £1 per month. Since WordPress doesn’t require a large amount of server resources to work smoothly, hosting companies are offering their WordPress hosting service at reasonable prices nonetheless. Depending on the size of your WordPress site, you can even get a suitable hosting service for less than £1 per month by opting for a smaller service plan.

WordPress hosting is not only affordable in the long run. It is also among the most affordable hosting services to begin with. If you choose to use a monthly billing cycle, you may not even have to spend more than £5 to get your site up and running, including your own domain name and other services.

  1. Lots of Freebies

Being a very popular platform, WordPress is used by thousands – if not millions – of sites out there. The latest statistics said that there are more than 2,000 new WordPress-based websites being introduced every hour. As you can see, the market for WordPress hosting is a lucrative one indeed.

This is why hosting companies are offering more freebies and bonuses to win your business. If you are in the process of searching for the right WordPress hosting service to use, you will see a lot of these offers for sure. A free domain name, free advertising credits and various other offers are yours to take. All you have to do is sign up for the hosting service plan of your choice and claim these bonuses.

The free advertising credits in particular are very interesting. You can jump-start your WordPress site by advertising it through Google AdWords, Facebook Ad network and other advertising networks without even spending any of your money in the process. Used correctly, these free advertising credits can really boost your traffic from the beginning.

  1. Maximum Compatibility

Need to add your own help-desk or install an online forum? Your WordPress hosting service package should support the best web applications and platforms perfectly. These scripts use the same combination of PHP and MySQL, so you can still add other web applications to your site without having to purchase a separate hosting plan.

The server itself is optimized for WordPress. Your main site will perform beautifully even under heavy load. That said, the rest of the site will still be very much accessible – and performing well – even without the optimizations.

  1. Top Support

If you are relatively new to WordPress or if you still need help with setting up your site, opting for WordPress hosting is the best way to go. The support officers behind your hosting service can help you tackle various WordPress related tasks, from setting up themes and plugins to optimizing the entire site for maximum speed.

This is part of the benefits of using WordPress hosting. You also get years of expertise and experience from the hosting company. Setting up particular WordPress hooks or trying to add a specific feature to your site will be very easy to do, even when you have no prior experience in developing a WordPress site before, because you can always ask for technical support.

With these benefits to enjoy, opting for a specialized WordPress hosting is the best way to go if you want to set up a new site using WordPress. The same goes for when you want to expand your existing WordPress site further. The performance boost offered by WordPress optimized hosting is definitely a huge plus you can benefit from.


How Reality TV Changes Reality

After a long day, the prospect of slumping in front of the television and zoning out during a reality show is more than welcoming. However, few avid TV-watchers have failed to notice that the reality genre has utterly taken over the airwaves; every station has some “unscripted” series, following one family or another as it navigates the world. There are reality shows for those looking for star-packed drama, there are reality shows for sports fans hoping for some offseason info, and there are reality shows for kids and teens who have nothing better to do than watch hour after mindless hour of people making poor decisions. Not many people think twice about switching on a reality show and collapsing on the couch ― but maybe they should.

Research suggests that reality television has more influence on reality than most people expect. From the impact reality TV has on culture to the way it modifies young people’s brains, the reality genre might actually be dangerous to America’s future.

Intense Materialism

Reality television sells because it is more exciting than actual reality. While viewers spend night after night in front of the tube, on TV reality stars go wild at clubs and have frenzied house parties; they travel the world and experience exclusive delights; they enjoy tantalizingly luxurious lifestyles, and fans can quickly grow jealous. The contrast between real life and reality TV life is stark, and many viewers choose to pursue the idealistic way of life they see on the screen.

An extreme example of this are the notorious Hollywood Hills robberies, as depicted in the movie “The Bling Ring.” Seeking ceaseless excitement, a group of kids raided the homes of several celebrities, attempting to fuel the expensive life of parties and travel. Of course, the kids were arrested for their crimes, but they demonstrate how reality TV sets high standards for life that few people can attain.

Amplified Aggression

From the “Survivor” series which depicts strategic quarrels to “Jersey Shore” which showcases the antagonism of Italian-Americans, nearly every reality show contains some amount of drama. Stars gossip and spread rumors, and many even get into verbal and physical fights with friends and family. Often, that drama even continues off-screen, with social media wars ― like the recent one between Vivica Fox and 50 Cent ― which viewers also eagerly eat up.

Unfortunately, researchers believe that frequent exposure to such hostile behavior has increased rates of aggression off-screen. One study found that 78 percent of reality fans believe gossiping and spiteful conduct is normal between girls, compared to roughly 50 percent of non-watchers with the same views. Another study discovered that watching a reality show with aggressive undertones directly increases a person’s drive to do others harm.

Enhanced Beauty

Some experts believe that reality television has the potential to build up self-esteem; they believe that viewers tune into such programs to watch on-screen participants become humiliated, and shows end with audiences feeling superior. Indeed, some studies do support these claims, finding reality television fans more self-assured than their peers.

However, more widespread among reality TV fans is an emphasis on beauty. More than 72 percent of reality television watchers spend “a lot” of time perfecting their appearance, compared to a measly 42 percent of non-fans. Shows allow stars to primp and preen before going on camera, and their resulting flawless hair and make-up is presenting viewers with a false portrayal of average. Worse, some shows like “Extreme Makeover” and “The Biggest Loser” depict unrealistic changes to physical appearance, encouraging fans to undergo drastic procedures to attain the desired look. Rates of cosmetic surgery are rising, and many blame reality TV for this dangerous trend.

Accessible Fame

A leading theory regarding why reality television has gained such immense popularity is that the genre largely relies on regular people. Unlike the stage and the silver screen, which pull talent from trained and experienced artists, reality TV selects participants from the masses, which means everyone has the opportunity to become a reality star.

Unfortunately, the accessibility of fame has altered the way many people plan for the future. In one U.K. survey, 10 percent of British teens attested to willingly abandoning their educations for the chance at a spot on a reality television show. They believed that stardom offered more money and success than anything they could achieve at school. Yet, reality fame is fleeting, and nearly all reality celebrities quickly end up back in obscurity ― fighting the rest of their lives for another chance at recognition.




5 Ways to Avoid Awkward Silences on Your First Date

The first date is at once the most exciting and most terrifying step in the dating process. On one hand, you could be starting a new era of your life ― one filled with love and connection to a person who truly understands you. On the other hand, a first date is almost certainly going to be a big awkward.

Fortunately, with some preparation, you can mitigate the worst of the unease. Here are a few ways to cut silences short and get comfortable on any first date.

1. Have a Plan

Most people cannot claim improvisation as a strength, so the more you can plan ahead of time, the more comfortable you will be during your date. At least the day before your outing, you should know exactly what the two of you will do together and exactly where you will do it. You might even plan other aspects of the date, like your outfit or your topics of conversation (see below). Then, when the first date comes, you will be thoroughly prepared to overcome any awkward challenges.

Having a plan serves an even greater purpose than mitigating any first-date awkwardness: It shows that you have initiative and forethought, which are subtly sexy traits most people want in their mates. Still, it is considerate to inform your date about your plans in case he or she isn’t keen on certain activities.

2. Learn Some Icebreakers

Getting to know a complete stranger is stressful ― how can you possibly understand another human being? Do you start with softball questions about his or her job and hobbies, or do you go straight to learning his or her life values and future plans?

Most experts advise against delving too deeply into potentially traumatic or controversial topics on the first date, which means you should stay away from issues like politics or past indiscretions. You should also avoid snore-inducing lines of conversation, like recent dreams or minor health problems. Instead, you can peruse icebreaker lists to find inspiration for your first-date chatter. These will help you and your date reveal important information in a lighthearted and comfortable way.

3. Pay Attention to Body Language

A famous study found that people communicate primarily non-verbally: More than 93 percent of a person’s thoughts and opinions are conveyed through his or her body language and tone of voice rather than the content of his or her sentences. Therefore, it is crucial that you pay attention to your date’s non-verbal cues to understand what he or she is saying. You will be better equipped to steer the date away from any looming awkwardness, especially unwanted physical interaction.

It is important to watch your own body language as well as your date’s. Sometimes, you might encourage the wrong opinion with subconscious actions or behavior, and being careful about your expression and limb placement will help your date understand you, as well.

4. Get Active

The simple act of sitting across from your date is actually one of the hardest ways to achieve first-date success. When you are limited to the dinner and drinks on your table, you and your date will likely run out of conversation topics fast.

A much easier date ― and usually a much more memorable one ― gets you both up and interacting with the world around. Not only do active dates provide a built-in distraction during lulls in conversation, but they allow you to hide your nervous, fidgeting fingers. Here are some suggestions for lively first dates:

  • Attend a local arts or food festival
  • Walk around the park
  • Hike an easygoing mountain trail
  • Bike around your favorite neighborhood
  • Play a round of golf (or mini-golf)

5. Sink Into It

Ultimately, unless you and your date were made for one another, you will experience a bit of awkwardness on your first outing together. However, a tiny amount of discomfort isn’t a good reason to end the date early. Those mutual feelings of self-consciousness arise from positive emotions, like excitement and attraction, which means nervousness is a good sign: It shows you want to make a good impression.

While it is definitely a good idea to have a plan and to keep your date engaged, it can also be useful to allow a little awkwardness on your date. When a silence starts, you should try to feel comfortable in it by feeling the sensations in your body, noting your breath, and sinking into the tension. Perhaps your date will find your coolness in the face of awkwardness even more attractive.

Apple’s new iOS center in Naples raises eyebrows

Source: USA Today

Apple has announced the founding of its first European center for the development of iOS software in the southern city of Naples, a move seen in Italy as a new front in its war against a wave of European tax probes.

Apple CEO Tim Cook personally announced the plan Friday in Rome, saying the company was “thrilled to be helping the next generation of entrepreneurs in Italy get the skills they need for success.”

Cook came to Italy from Brussels, where he lobbied European officials as the prospect of a $19 billion tax bill loomed. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is looking into the legality of Apple paying most of its European taxes in Ireland, a low-tax jurisdiction.

Just three weeks before Cook landed in Rome, Apple settled a tax investigation in Italy in terms Italian media described as favorable to the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant: The Italian government said Apple underpaid taxes for the 2008-2013 period by $958 million and Apple agreed to pay $346 million.

A few weeks before the announcement of the Italian settlement, Cook dismissed the investigation as “political crap” and promised “Apple pays every tax dollar” it owes. The settlement did not come up during Cook’s brief stop in Rome, but Italian analysts see the announcement of the Naples development center as related.

“What is most interesting about the announcement is that there was no warning, it just suddenly appeared like a gift under the Christmas tree,” Jeev Trika, director of TopSEOs, a leading iOS and SEO information site, said in an interview.

“I would be surprised if this was not part of Apple’s public relations efforts to illustrate that it plays a positive role in Europe, a role that goes beyond what the company pays in taxes,” Trikka said.

Apple’s press release announcing the deal stressed that theme. It noted that while Apple directly employs 22,000 workers in Europe, it indirectly employs more than 1 million more, such as software developers. All told, the release said, 1.4 million European jobs depend on Apple products.

The center in Naples, when it opens, will broaden those numbers even further: Apple said 600 students a year will be trained at the center.

Screens are Taking a Toll on America’s Eyesight

Most of us think of our eyes as a tool to get the job done, and many of us accept deteriorating eyesight as a fact of life. Now, more than ever, our eyesight is getting worse. What are the causes and what can you do to maintain healthy vision?

The Problem

Our eyes have been fine-tuned over millions of years to catch prey and see both in the short range and the long range.

Enter the modern world –  our eyes no longer do what they were designed for. Instead, we now use our eyes to stare at screens, close and far away, large and small. This results in a few problems:

Light Sensitivity

Our eyes are built to react to the variety of natural sunlight. When we sit at a screen all day, we’re getting too much light from a single, fixed source. There’s no variety, no random reflection. This affects our vision, giving us light sensitivity.

Too Much Up Close Time

Our eyes are designed for a variety of ranges. Long vision, distances, and up very close. When we are focused on a mobile screen or computer screen, we’re spending lots of time in one fixed field of vision.

Not Enough “Far Away” Time

The flip side to this is that whilst we’re concentrating for ten hours a day on close up vision, we’re not practising long-distance vision either. Our eyes were designed to find possible obstacles and prey (and predators!) on the horizon line. Not practicing at this distance is like sitting on a sofa all day and expecting your legs to work in the same way a long distance runner’s do.

The Cures

This problem is a societal one, and there’s not much you can do about fixing society so that we don’t have to sit and work on computers all day. But you can make the difference in your own life. Here are our top tips.

Buy quality glasses

Something you must do is wear quality glasses. According to ExpressGlasses purchasing quality glasses means that you’ll suffer less from the deleterious effects of too much close-up time. This can make all the difference between keeping your eye strain at a reasonable, workable level and having to lose productivity due to headaches and other negative effects of this unnatural condition.


Take time away from the screen


Just like stretching your legs should be considered mandatory for anyone working at a computer screen, so should taking a break for the sake of your eyes. Every fifteen minutes or so, reset your vision by looking into the distance.


Don’t use screens late at night, or use something like f.lux


F.Lux is a great software. It’s free to use, and it takes away the brightness from your screen. This helps tremendously when you absolutely have to use a screen late at night.

Of course, the best thing you can do is switch off your screens late at night. This will limit eye strain and help you sleep better.

Driverless Cars Are Coming. Here’s What to Expect

Imagine commuting to work while catching up on your favorite TV show, reading the paper, or checking email. Millions of people do this daily while using public transportation to commute to work.

Now, imagine all the multi-tasking — along with luxuriant coffee drinking — inside the peace and quiet of your own car. You program your destination, your car chooses the least congested route, and you skip the stress ulcers from dealing with traffic.

Driverless cars aren’t science fiction anymore. They’re already on the road. In the U.S., Google has long been developing and testing driverless cars. Apple and Tesla, according to Time Magazine, may develop their own driverless cars, too.

How They Work

A car without a driver needs four components to safely navigate traffic: a GPS system, external sensors and cameras, a central computer, and connected vehicle technology.


Today’s GPS systems, whether they’re part of a car or within our smart devices, enable drivers to input a destination and determine the optimal route. The same technology humans already use creates a plan of action for driverless cars. GPS can also update the planned route in real time based on changing traffic conditions.

External Sensors and Cameras

Driverless cars use video cameras to read road signs, detect stoplights, notice other vehicles, and avoid pedestrians. They also use sensor technology to adjust to dynamic road conditions:

  • Radar sensors. Radar monitors the position of nearby vehicles. If you buy a car today that features adaptive cruise control, it’s using the same radar technology as a driverless vehicle.
  • Lidar sensors. By bouncing pulses of light off the car’s surroundings, lidar sensors detect both lane markings and road edges.
  • Ultrasonic sensors. Ultrasonic sensors come in handy when driverless cars attempt to park. They detect both curbs and other vehicles to avoid parking-related collisions.

Central Computer

The CANbus (controller area network) analyzes all GPS and sensor data. It then interprets data to control steering, braking, and acceleration. Cars have had central computers for decades to analyze vehicle status, so driverless cars simply build on existing computer systems in today’s vehicles.

Connected Vehicle Technology

Car manufacturers are building the framework for connected vehicle technology, which essentially makes cars able to communicate with one another. The U.S. Department of Transportation expects big improvements to safety, emissions controls, and congestion thanks to intelligent tracking systems in cars.

  • Intelligent tracking systems will help both traditional and driverless cars avoid accidents. They’ll warn of merging vehicles, sudden braking, or vehicles hidden in a driver’s blind spot.
  • Eliminating unnecessary stops and starts thanks to communication between cars will improve fuel efficiency.
  • In addition to helping cars find optimal traffic routes, intelligent tracking systems will help drivers identify last-minute ride sharing opportunities and detect open parking spaces. Best of all, transportation officials can use the swarm of data connected vehicles generate to understand traffic patterns, improve roads, and make travel more efficient.


Right now, the biggest obstacle to driverless car adoption is what it’s trying to replace: human drivers. Driverless cars follow the letter of the law. They stop for pedestrians and patiently wait their turn at four-way intersections.

Unfortunately, humans aren’t always the best drivers, and they don’t always follow the rules. When driverless cars stop at crosswalks, they get rear-ended. When no one completely stops at four-way intersections, driverless cars don’t know when to go.

Also, driverless cars swerve to avoid collisions in ways that seem unnatural to human drivers. One Google driverless car, for example, approached a red light and detected an oncoming car traveling over the speed limit. The Google car jerked to the right to prevent a crash, but the oncoming car stopped in plenty of time. These unusual and unnecessary swerves can cause chain reactions because human drivers don’t expect them.

When They’re Coming

Even with these glitches, Google predicts driverless cars will be on the road by 2020. Research from Boston Consulting Group suggests 1 in 5 drivers would pay $4,000 extra for driverless car technology, and 44 percent of U.S. consumers would purchase a driverless car within the next 10 years.

Still, consumers often say they’re enthusiastic about new technology, but old habits die hard. Case in point: electric and hybrid vehicles account for only 0.8 percent of new car registrations.

Scientists Have Found a New Way to Transform Sunlight Into Power

Researchers from Rice University have developed a new way to extract more energy from solar radiation, potentially making photovoltaic cells more efficient than ever before.

Their setup harnesses the power of hot electrons, which are highly kinetic electrons created when photons from the sun strike material within a photovoltaic panel. Hot electrons usually decay within trillionths of a second after photons strike the panel, but Isabell Thomann, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and of chemistry and materials science and nanoengineering at Rice, has found a way to slow their decay and harness their energy.

Getting Power From Hot Electrons

The biggest challenge with capturing hot electron energy is how quickly these excited particles return to their lower energy levels. They jump out of a lower energy level to a higher one, leaving holes behind. To keep them from returning right back to the lower energy level, Thomann put more distance between these excited electrons and the holes they left behind.

Along with a team of graduate students, Thomann constructed a three-layer setup. The base consisted of a thin sheet of aluminum topped with a transparent layer of nickel oxide. On top of the nickel oxide, the team dropped light-activated gold nanoparticles in discs about 10 to 30 nanometers wide.

When sunlight hit the gold nanoparticles from the top or reflected back up from the aluminum base layer, the photons received a quick supercharge from the nanoparticles, releasing hot electrons. Essentially, the nanoparticles and nickel oxide acted as a filter, letting electron holes through and leaving hot electrons sitting on the nanoparticles. Aluminum drew the electron holes back down, leaving the hot electrons with nowhere to go, which made them available for chemical reactions.

Thomann’s team then covered their materials with a thin layer of water to test whether hot electrons could split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen atoms. When measuring the current generated by their technique, Thomann’s team reported current efficiencies consistent with far more sophisticated — and expensive — PV technologies.

Solving Frustrating Efficiency Problems

Historically, the biggest obstacle to widespread solar power usage has always been cost. Innovation and government subsidies have made photovoltaics cheaper than ever before, putting solar within the hands of homeowners. Thanks to tax breaks, the U.S. has seen many entrepreneurs form LLCs dedicated to installing solar panels and photovoltaic systems. Even so, solar installations are still costly, and increased adoption depends on making solar cheaper.

When sunlight makes it to Earth’s surface, it’s already lost about one-third of the energy it had when it left the sun. Earth’s atmosphere reflects some light back into space, and it also absorbs some of the energy, which the atmosphere and creates wind currents. One of the best ways to get more from existing PV cells is to make them more efficient. Current solar technology, however, manages to harness between only 5 and 25 percent of the sun’s energy.

Hot electrons dissipate from most current PV cells in the form of heat loss. By capturing these particles and keeping them from going to lower energy levels, Thomann’s team extracts more energy from the sunlight. It’s impossible to say when or how the Rice team’s findings could be incorporated into PV cells, but their research has enormous potential to make solar power less expensive — and more attractive to everyday consumers.

Keeping Costs Down

At MIT, graduate student Qiong Ma has used graphene and hexagonal boron nitride with similar effects to Thomann’s nanoparticle sheet. Her experiments pair sheets of graphene with top and bottom electrodes of different sizes, with a top gate made from dielectric boron nitride.

Electrons from the sun are slow to bond with graphene’s lattice structure, keeping electrons at higher energy levels for a longer period and extracting more energy for electricity. Unfortunately, it costs a lot to isolate graphene from graphite and turn it into usable material. According to the International Business Times, some U.S. vendors sell copper foil covered with a layer of graphene for $60 per square inch.

The Rice University team’s method uses more cost-effective materials, although Thomann readily admits their methods need further study before widespread implementation. Even so, it’s a promising solution that could make solar more affordable, reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Knee Replacements Turn Back the Clock for Patients with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

A recent study shows that knee replacement surgery may significantly improve pain and leg function in patients with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), thus improving their quality of life.

The surgery will not restore patients to the same level of comfort and mobility as they had in their younger years, but according to the Arthritis and Rheumatology journal reports that knee replacement can turn back the clock to when patients were less affected by pain.

In a six month study, researchers found, according to senior study author Kaleb Michaud, “The vast majority of patients had their symptoms improve dramatically from the surgery, but this procedure is not a cure – RA patients will continue to need to treat their disease outside of the joint replacement.”

Knee replacement is one of the most common surgeries, with about 720,000 people in the U.S. alone getting this procedure last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recently, there have been recalls of knee replacement products due to complaints of moisture on the instrumentation.

The surgery is much improved in recent years, with replacement knees made from a patient’s own cells. This replacement, NeoCart, is an investigational cartilage tissue implant to treat certain knee cartilage injuries. The proprietary procedure uses regenerative medicine technology to create hyaline-like cartilage tissue from a patient’s own cells.To generate the NeoCart cartilage tissue implant, a surgeon first obtains a small sample of normal cartilage from a patient’s knee through a minimally invasive arthroscopy, or “knee scope.” This small tissue sample, or biopsy, is then treated and placed under special conditions that allow for cell growth, organization and tissue formation. This allows the patient’s own cells to form a hyaline-like cartilage tissue implant before being returned to the surgeon for implantation.  The implant can be trimmed so that it fits the injury site (like a puzzle piece).

Francois Desmeules, a researcher in rehabilitation at the University of Montreal says, “Surgery can help people with severe pain and disabilities that don’t respond to alternative treatments such as weight loss, exercise, physical therapy and medication for osteoarthritis.”


(Image courtesy of Flickr user Kenny Holston, under a Creative Commons license.)