Biomarkers – The Key to Prevention and Early Detection of Disease


Biomarkers are the key to prevention and early detection of disease …

… of this I am convinced. And I am firmly convinced that laboratory diagnostics and the use of biomarkers will have a critical effect on the medicine of tomorrow.

Why am I so sure of this? It has already been demonstrated that biomarkers can be used to optimize treatment for individual patients with diabetes. In the future, individualized medicine (also sometimes called “personalized medicine”) will not only significantly increase the efficiency of treatment; it will also greatly improve prevention and early detection. Today it is already possible to carry out a diagnosis in the symptom-free phase of a disease by using biomarkers. This is of great benefit to the patients who receive early and targeted treatment. Continue reading

Rheumatism Affects more than just the Joints!


Rheumatism affects more than just the joints: the heart and circulatory system are also at risk!The knowledge gradually sinks in, even for patients: inflammatory rheumatic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) not only damage the joints, but also the blood vessels. Patients with rheumatism thus have an increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Why is this the case? Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) not only causes inflammation of the musculoskeletal system; it also affects the walls of blood vessels. In addition, RA patients have an increased incidence of hardening of the arteries, arteriosclerosis. “These patients have a 30 to 60 % higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.”

These figures are given by Professor Dr. med. Jürgen Braun, Medical Director of the Ruhr Centre for Rheumatism in Herne, Germany (Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet). (These figures and excerpts, and those that follow, were published by the German Society of Rheumatology- Deutsche Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie, DGRh,  in the run-up to the 38th Congress of the DGRh (38. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie e.V.), which is currently underway in Hamburg.) Prof. Jürgen Braun adds, “The danger increases further when patients have elevated lipid levels, high blood pressure or diabetes, or are overweight.” Continue reading

The 2010 ACR – EULAR Rheumatoid Arthritis Classification Criteria in brief


In the September issues of their journals Arthritis and Rheumatism and Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) present a new set of criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Why do wee need “new” criteria for the classification of RA?

The 1987 ACR criteria have been criticised for their lack of sensitivity, especially in early disease. They rather describe the symptoms of fully developed late-stage RA. During the past decade, RA treatment has undergone dramatic changes Continue reading

New Criteria for the Classification of Rheumatoid Arthritis


New ACR/EULAR 2010 Classification Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

European and American rheumatologists have established new criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The Revised Classification Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis will appear in the September issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism; they can also be viewed online or as a free download at the ACR homepage (accessed 23/08/2010). Continue reading

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Smoking and Rheumatism


There is a Connection between Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Smoking – what are the Reasons?

Smoking might be a trigger for rheumatoid arthritis.

That smoking is unhealthy really isn’t a secret any more. However, it may be less well known that smoking is especially damaging to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or people with a genetic predisposition towards this autoimmune disease.

Until a few years ago, a coherent explanation of how smoking triggers the break in immunotolerance and why tobacco smoke promotes the onset of autoimmune disease was still missing. A group of Swedish researchers has found one of the missing links in the pathogenic chain between tobacco smoke and rheumatoid arthritis (Makrygiannakis et al., 2008). The scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm showed that cigarette smoke is directly involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Continue reading