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Childhood Arthritis Hinders School and Social Activity

Published Online: Saturday, November 1, 2003   [ Request Print ]

    Researchers studying children with juvenile arthritis have learned that increased pain and fatigue are linked to reduced participation in school and social activity. Also, the investigators noted that anxiety is significantly linked with increased pain and fatigue.

    The key components of the 2-month study, which involved 41 children with juvenile arthritis, were new assessment tools and a patient diary. Using diary analysis in conjunction with standard clinical testing, the researchers found that increased anxiety?and, surprisingly, not depressed mood?was significantly associated with increased fatigue and pain frequency and intensity. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the Office of Research on Women?s Health, and the private sector supported the study.

    The study authors concluded that physicians ?should consider treating pain more aggressively in children with arthritis with standard pharmacologic therapies.? They also suggest ?therapeutic interventions to treat anxiety, including psychotropic medication and cognitive?behavioral therapy.?

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