Category Archives: Autoimmune disease

New strategy prevents rheumatoid arthritis in mice

Eureka Alert reported the results of a striking finding. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have demonstrated a new strategy for treating autoimmune disease that successfully blocked the development of rheumatoid arthritis in a mouse model. They say it holds promise for improved treatment of arthritis and other autoimmune disorders in people.

The scientists report in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that infusing a highly specific type of cell that regulates immune responses into arthritis-prone mice shut down the cascade of inflammation that damages tissues and joints.

The method worked best when the infusions of CD8+ Treg cells were given at the same time that the animals were injected with a protein that triggered the arthritis-causing autoimmune reaction. “We found we could almost completely inhibit the disease in this setting,” said Harvey Cantor, MD, chair of the Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS at Dana-Farber and the study’s senior author.

Too bad we couldn’t predict wrheumatoid-arthritishen people were going to be exposed to whatever triggers RA and give them this preventative at that moment.

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Sunlight exposure reduces rheumatoid arthritis risk in women

The BBC reported on a study from Harvard Medical School and published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases that studied two groups of more than 100,000 women. The first were monitored from 1976 onwards, the second from 1989.

Their health was then compared with estimates of the levels of UV-B radiation they were exposed to, based on where they lived.

sunny-beachIn the 1976 group, those in the sunniest parts of the US getting the highest levels of sunshine were 21% less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those getting the least UV radiation.

However, UV levels had no affect upon the risk of rheumatoid arthritis is the 1989 group.

The report’s authors said: “Our study adds to the growing evidence that exposure to UV-B light is associated with decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.”

“Experts warned that people should not spend all day in the sun.” Dr. Chris Deighton, of the British Society for Rheumatology, said, “We cannot advocate everybody sitting in the sunshine all day to protect from rheumatoid arthritis, because UV-B burns people and increases the risk of skin cancer.

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Is inflammation responsible for disease?

Chronic inflammation appears to be the final common denominator for many conditions. And while there have been many advances in the treatment of multiple disorders, many people still cling to the hope that natural remedies might be as effective as prescription drugs.

So let’s start with the supposition that chronic inflammation is responsible for many illnesses.

A prime example is rheumatoid arthritis.  The chronicrheumatoid-arthritis-hand
inflammation from this disease affects not only joints but internal organs as well.

In addition, chronic inflammation is responsible for the marked increase in cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke seen in RA.

Gingival infection and inflammation has been linked to both
RA as well as atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

An excellent article was published on the anti-inflammatory effects of cilantro
in RA in the Indian Journal of Medical Research by The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) researchers..  Similar articles have been published on the role of turmeric (curcumin) and other spices such as boswellia, bromelain, garlic, and ginger.

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What conditions can be confused with fibromyalgia?

Chad Boomershine wrote an excellent review article on fibromyalgia in Rheumatology Practice News.

One of the most valuable pieces in the article is the list of potential diseases to exclude when faced with a patient who may have this painful disorder.pain

They are:

1.Anemia, leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell disease

2.Thyroid disease, hyperparathyroid disease, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, Paget’s disease

3.Polymyalgia rheumatica, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s disease, Behcet’s disease, vasculitis, sarcoidosis

4. Hepatitis, HIV, Lyme disease, parvovirus disease, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and urinary tract infections.

5. Multiple sclerosis, myesthenia gravis, peripheral neuropathy

6. Sleep apnea, restless legs, kidney disease, nutritional deficiencies, celiac disease, Chiari malformation, drug and alcohol abuse.

7. Psychiatric disease such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders.

fibromyalgiaA critical issue to remember is that fibromylagia can occur secondary to any of the above conditions as well.

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Dry eye… a sign of arthritis?

Many arthritic conditions have an autoimmune reason behind them. One common autoimmune condition is Sjogren’s disease. This is an inflammatory, chronic, syndrome that affects glands that produce secretions, eg. tears, saliva, and mucus.sjogrens-eye

Symptoms due to Sjogren’s are myriad and consist of complaints such as irritation or burning of the eyes, dry tongue and mouth with difficulty eating dry food, swelling of the glands in the neck, and dryness of the nose, skin, and sjogrens-toguevagina.

The dryness of the eyes can lead to corneal abrasions and infection of the eye.  Dryness of the mouth can accelerate dental decay and also cause fungal infections to develop. Involvement of the bronchial tree can lead to an increased frequency of upper respiratory infections.

Sjogren’s can occur secondary to another autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.  It can also occur by itself.

Systemic problems with Sjogren’s are related to chronic inflammation affecting internal organs such as the peripheral nerves, lungs, kidney, and liver.

One long term complication is the development of lymphoma.

Diagnosis is established with either a minor salivary gland biopsy and/or noting the presence of antibodies to Ro and La in the blood.

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