Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disease marked by damage to the joints and abnormalities of the immune system. Although the precise cause of the disease remains unknown, both genetic and environmental factors are widely recognized for their contributions to RA's onset and progression. Studies of twins and families have found ample evidence for RA's hereditary component. However, researchers are still unclear about how genes influence distinct features of this complex disease. (1)
To gain further insight into the role of heredity in RA, a nationwide team of researchers focused on the clustering of specific disease characteristics within families. The study focused on 1097 individuals with RA from 512 families across the country documented as having multiple cases of the disease. The majority of the subjects - 91% - were white, and 77% were female. The mean age at RA diagnosis was 41 and most patients had been living with the disease for several years at the time of study entry.
Many people question: How do the joints of patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis become severely inflamed? (2)
An article in the April 2004 issue of Nature Immunology reports that cells from arthritic joints make more inflammatory factors because of their response to signals that are normally involved in cell death pathways. (2)
Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 1% of people worldwide. The drugs Etanercept and methotrexate are known to be effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; however, no data exist on concurrent initiation or use of the combination compared with either drug alone. (3)
About 13 years ago, lifelong arthritis sufferer Juliette Rizo, 35, experienced significant reductions in her pain levels after changing her diet. "I was so tired of living in pain and popping 20-something pills every day," says...