Arthritis Watch

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Disability from Arthritis Climbing

Arthritis tops the list of the most common causes of disability, according to an article recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Furthermore, the number of individuals who report arthritis as the primary cause of disability has risen to 1 million. The CDC report also found that women are disproportionately affected by the disability at all ages. Women also are more likely to cite arthritis as the cause of their disability (6.4 million women vs 2.2 million men).

“Today, more women are not only being diagnosed with arthritis, but now we learn they are more likely to be disabled by arthritis. Unless we focus more attention on arthritis prevention efforts, more women will live longer with the pain and disability of arthritis,” said Rep Rosa DeLauro (D, CT).

The Arthritis Foundation said that the findings should be taken into consideration as part of health care reform and arthritis research and prevention efforts strengthened to reduce and minimize the burden of arthritis.

Golimumab Helps Patients with Psoriatic Arthritis

For patients with psoriatic arthritis, which affects about 11% of individuals with psoriasis, the drug golimumab improved physical function and eased symptoms, according to a study reported in the April 2009 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

The study included 405 patients who still had active psoriatic arthritis after taking antirheumatic medicines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The group was randomly selected to receive injections of 50 or 100 mg of golimumab or placebo every 4 weeks for 24 weeks.

The study found that 51% of the patients in the 50-mg group, 45% in 100-mg group, and 9% in the placebo group attained the American College of Rheumatology 20% improvement criteria by week 14. Swollen and tender joints, disease activity, and levels of C-reactive protein were areas that exhibited improvement.

The drug also improved psoriasis symptoms. The study results indicated that only 3% of the patients in the placebo group achieved at least a 75% improvement in psoriasis symptoms. The golimumab group fared better, with improvements seen in 40% taking 50 mg and 58% taking 100 mg.

Arthritis Hinders Computer Use

New research has been reported that looked at how computer use affects patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), and fibromyalgia (FM). The study involved 315 patients with arthritis who completed a survey covering computer use, discomfort experienced while using a chair, desk, keyboard, mouse, and monitor, and problems associated with each piece of equipment.

Reporting in the May 2009 issue of Arthritis Care & Research, the researchers found that 84% of respondents had a problem with computer use attributed to their underlying disorder, and 77% reported some discomfort related to computer use. Furthermore, of the 3 categories of diseases, considerably more respondents with FM reported severe discomfort and more problems with greater limitation related to computer use, compared with patients with RA or OA.

“Because those with arthritis may experience pain and discomfort even under ideal circumstances, it is not surprising that the prevalence of respondents reporting discomfort with computer use is considerably higher than the general population of computer users,” wrote the investigators. D I S E A S E S T A T E M A N A G E M E N T Arthritis Watch

Chlamydia May Affect Type of Arthritis

A study reported in the May 2009 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism found that chlamydia infection may play a role in undifferentiated spondyloarthropathy (uSpA) arthritis. This form of arthritis is a type of spondyloarthritis (SpA), a group of diseases that share clinical features, such as inflammatory back pain and inflammation at sites where tendons attach to bones. Other SpAs include reactive arthritis (ReA) and psoriatic arthritis.

For the study, the researchers compared blood and synovial tissue samples from 26 patients with chronic uSpA or chlamydia-induced ReA with synovial tissues from a control group of 167 patients with arthritis. The arthritis groups also underwent evaluation of swollen and tender joints and other SpA symptoms and were asked about known chlamydia infection.

The findings showed that the rate of chlamydia infection in the patients with uSpA was 62%, compared with 12% in the control group.

FAST FACT: The prevalence of arthritis is expected to rise by 40% by the year 2030.

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