Research Update: Prognosis of Outcomes for Rheumatoid Arthritis – What are the Risk Factors?


Research Update: Prognosis of Outcomes for Rheumatoid Arthritis – What are the Risk Factors?

In the past, it has only been possible to explain some of the joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) based on known risk factors. In order to improve treatment for RA, future approaches to treatment will increasingly need to be tailored to individual patients and individually configured.

 

Personalized medicine in RA treatment

The goal is to develop individual treatments tailored to the needs of the individual patient, “personalized medicine” for rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and treament (for more on the subject of personalized medicine, refer to the background article Early Detection and Personalised Medicine – What Biomarkers Tell Us on our rheumachec homepage). Continue reading

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Is the Incidence of this Autoimmune Disease Rising?


Is the Incidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising?

Is rheumatoid arthritis (RA) actually on the rise? Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota say “yes”, and they presented data from a study, published in the June issue of the Arthritis & Rheumatism magazine – even though the authors themselves can only speculate about the reasons why.

Rheumatoid arthritis is on the rise, they found – is increased use of some lower dose birth control pills a factor?

Rheumatoid arthritis is on the rise, they found – is increased use of some lower dose birth control pills a factor?

In that recently published Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinical Study Elena Myasoedova, Cynthia S. Crowson, Hilal Maradit Kremers, Terry M. Therneau, and Sherine E. Gabriel from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, expanded a previous research from 1955 to 1994, looking at the years 1995 to 2007. To augment the pre-existing study they now focused on the medical records of more than 1,700 residents of Olmstedt County, Minnesota, aged 18 years or older, who had received at least one diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Yes, RA is on the rise! 

What did they find out? – From 1955 to 1994, the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis had continually been on the decline. That apparently changed beginning in the mid-1990s. When the researchers analyzed patient data from early 1995 to the start of 2005, they found that both the incidence and the prevalence of the condition were rising. 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

Research Update: Genetics of Rheumatoid Arthritis Susceptibility


Genetics of Rheumatoid Arthritis Susceptibility

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex autoimmune disease that is influenced by genetic and environmental factors, e.g. smoking. A group of Spanish investigators around Alejandro Balsa has recently published a study about the influence of HLA DRB1 genes on the development of RA and the production of disease-specific autoantibodies (open access, free article). 

They observed a dose-dependent association between SE-alleles and ACPA-titres in a Spanish cohort of RA patients. Continue reading

Research Update about ACPAs


Are RA-specific ACPAs formed directly within inflamed joints?

Antibodies against mutated citrullinated vimentin (anti-MCV) and cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCP) in the serum of RA patients act as highly specific indicators of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, these antibodies indicate whether the disease is progressing aggressively. In contrast to the CCP antibodies, the anti-MCV antibodies seem to have pathogenic significance.

Earlier studies showed that the anti-CCP titre is higher in the synovial fluid of RA patients than in their serum. This study was intended to demonstrate that this is also true of anti-MCV antibodies and antibodies against other citrullinated proteins.  Continue reading