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Covering Autoimmune Diseases

environmental determinants

Research Update: Common Adult Vaccinations do not Increase the Risk of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis

The EIRA Study: Vaccinations and RA Risk – no Association found!

“Common adult immunizations are not associated with an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis” – that is the result of research published in the October issue of The Annals of the Rheumatic Disease, the EULAR journal. Last week that data were also presented at the American College of Rheumatology ACR Annual Scientific Meeting (took place from 6th to 11th November).

Common adult vaccinations don’t increase the risk of developing RA, recent results of the Swedish EIRA Study Group say.

Common adult vaccinations don’t increase the risk of developing RA, recent results of the Swedish EIRA Study Group say.

“Vaccinations are among the events which have long been postulated as inciting agents for rheumatoid arthritis, as well as for many other chronic inflammatory diseases of unknown origin,” lead investigator in the study, Camilla Bengtsson, PhD, stated in her lecture last Monday at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, USA.

No increased RA risk following immunizations

“In our case-control study including incident cases of newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis, no increased risk of RA following immunization was observed, at least not in the five years prior to disease onset”, the epidemiologist at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, explained in more detail, noting that the study is still ongoing. From Dr. Bengtsson’s point of view these results are indicating that immunological provocation with commonly used vaccines in their present form do not carry a risk of rheumatoid arthritis in adults. (more…)

Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis: Newly Discovered Gene Indicates Risk!

Recent Publications: Genetic Basis of Psoriasis

It is the nature of things: on days of action like World Psoriasis Day on October 29th of every year) reports about the topic in question and new articles and scientific studies start to pile up. 

The texture of a tree - as an allegory for the skin in case of psoriasis

For example, several research reports on the subject of psoriasis have appeared in the journal Nature Genetics in the last few weeks; as usual, they first appeared online. Whether the approach of World Psoriasis Day was the trigger for this advance publication remains an open question. The results of a Chinese study, a study from the USA and Canada, and a very comprehensive German study all presented in Nature Genetics, which I have linked to below, are generally interesting and newsworthy. (more…)

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.” (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA): Genes and Environment

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA): How do genes contribute to onset of this autoimmune disease? What about the environment?

Both the genetic groundwork of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and the influence of the environment on onset of the disease have thus far seen little research. One of the reasons for this is surely that JIA is a rare disease: only one in a thousand children suffer from juvenile idiopathic arthritis. With such a small number of patients, it is naturally difficult to carry out meaningful studies.

Insights and hypotheses about the epidemiology and pathomechanism of other autoimmune diseases have only in recent years begun to be carried over to JIA and confirmed for this autoimmune disorder. (more…)

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