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Category Archives: Arthritis

Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi program to begin in July in Roseland

ROSELAND The Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi program will take place at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 10, at the East Hanover Volunteer Fire Dept. Building, 323 Ridgedale Ave., East Hanover. The program is open to residents of East Hanover and Roseland. A physicians release is required. All classes are taught by instructors who have undergone a special Arthritis Foundation instructor-training workshop. The Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi program is designed for people of all ages seeking a joint-safe exercise routine, but particularly those with mild to moderate arthritis. Research shows moderate physical activity helps people with arthritis feel better and relieves pain. Tai Chi may be especially suitable for people with joint problems because its movements are slow and gentle, and the level of exertion can be adjusted to suit each persons physical condition. In addition, the movements in the style of Tai Chi used by the Arthritis Foundation are performed at higher stances, which make it easier and more comfortable to learn. The benefits of Tai Chi may include reduced pain and stiffness, improved concentration and memory, greater balance, increased flexibility, enhanced muscle strength, along with improved ability to cope with stress and depression. To register for The Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Class or for more information, contact the East Hanover Health Department at 973-428-3035. Continue reading

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Many Stop Taking Rheumatoid Arthritis Meds Too Soon: Study

FRIDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- About half of rheumatoid arthritis patients stopped taking their medications within two years after they started them, a new study finds. Rheumatoid arthritis affects about one in 100 people worldwide and can cause progressive joint destruction, deformity, pain and stiffness. The disease can reduce physical function, quality of life and life expectancy. The main reason about one-third of patients discontinued their medications was because the drugs lost their effectiveness, the study authors found. Other reasons included safety concerns (20 percent), doctor preference (nearly 28 percent), patient preference (about 18 percent) and access to treatment (9 percent), according to the study results, which were presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), in Madrid, Spain. Rheumatoid arthritis "is a progressive disease, which, if left untreated, can significantly and permanently reduce joint function, patient mobility and quality of life," study lead author Dr. Vibeke Strand, a clinical professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, said in an EULAR news release. "Studies have shown that patients sustain maximum benefit from [rheumatoid arthritis] treatment in the first two years -- yet our data highlight significant discontinuation rates during this time period," Strand said. The study included more than 6,200 rheumatoid arthritis patients who started treatment by taking either tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi) or non-TNFi biologics. In the TNFi group, the percentages of patients who continued taking their medications were about 82 percent at six months, 68 percent at 12 months and 52 percent at 24 months. In the non-TNFi group, the percentages for those corresponding time periods were about 81 percent, 63 percent and 46 percent, respectively. The average time to medication discontinuation was 26.5 months in the TNFi group and 20.5 months in the non-TNFi group, the investigators found. "While there is no cure for [rheumatoid arthritis], initiating treatment early and improving adherence can enable patients to lead active and productive lives," Strand said in the news release. The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. -- Robert Preidt Continue reading

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Common Childhood Vaccine Won’t Worsen Juvenile Arthritis: Study

TUESDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) booster vaccinations do not appear to worsen disease activity in children with juvenile arthritis, according to a new Dutch study. "The safety of MMR vaccination has been questioned because disease flares have been described after MMR vaccination," wrote Dr. Marloes Heijstek, of the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues. "Our trial does not show an effect of vaccination on [juvenile arthritis] activity." The study included 137 juvenile arthritis patients, aged 4 to 9, who had received primary MMR vaccinations and were randomly assigned either to receive an MMR booster shot or not receive a booster. During follow-up, juvenile arthritis disease activity was about the same for both groups, according to the study, which was published in the June 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The average number of disease flares per patient was 0.44 in the booster shot group and 0.34 in the non-booster group, and both groups had a similar percentage of patients with one or more flares. Juvenile arthritis is the most common childhood rheumatic disease, and affects between 16 and 150 children per 100,000. Patients with juvenile arthritis are at increased risk for infections due to weakened immune systems caused by the disease or its treatment. Preventing infections in these patients requires safe and effective vaccinations that do not increase disease activity, the researchers noted in a journal news release. -- Robert Preidt Copyright 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved. SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, June 18, 2013 Continue reading

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Common Childhood Vaccine Won't Worsen Juvenile Arthritis: Study

TUESDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) booster vaccinations do not appear to worsen disease activity in children with juvenile arthritis, according to a new Dutch study. "The safety of MMR vaccination has been questioned because disease flares have been described after MMR vaccination," wrote Dr. Marloes Heijstek, of the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues. "Our trial does not show an effect of vaccination on [juvenile arthritis] activity." The study included 137 juvenile arthritis patients, aged 4 to 9, who had received primary MMR vaccinations and were randomly assigned either to receive an MMR booster shot or not receive a booster. During follow-up, juvenile arthritis disease activity was about the same for both groups, according to the study, which was published in the June 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The average number of disease flares per patient was 0.44 in the booster shot group and 0.34 in the non-booster group, and both groups had a similar percentage of patients with one or more flares. Juvenile arthritis is the most common childhood rheumatic disease, and affects between 16 and 150 children per 100,000. Patients with juvenile arthritis are at increased risk for infections due to weakened immune systems caused by the disease or its treatment. Preventing infections in these patients requires safe and effective vaccinations that do not increase disease activity, the researchers noted in a journal news release. -- Robert Preidt Copyright 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved. SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, June 18, 2013 Continue reading

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment May Not Work As Well for Heavier Patients

TUESDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese people with rheumatoid arthritis are less likely to go into remission in the early stages of the disease and require much more drug treatment than people with normal weight, according to a new study. The study included nearly 350 people with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who underwent a treatment meant to achieve remission of their disease. The strategy included strict follow-up visits, as well as treatment with steroids and the drug methotrexate, combined with anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapy if a good response didn't occur. Anti-TNF drugs are used to reduce inflammation in a variety of conditions. At six and 12 months of follow-up, overweight and obese patients had lower rates of remission. After 12 months, a higher percentage of overweight and obese patients were still on anti-TNF therapy, compared to normal-weight patients. The researchers also said overweight and obese patients required 2.4 times more anti-TNF therapy throughout the study than normal-weight patients. The study was presented Friday at the annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism in Madrid, Spain. The data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. "Obesity and rheumatoid arthritis are both on the rise, with devastating effects on individuals and society as a whole," study author Elisa Gremese said in an organization news release. "These data reinforce the link between obesity and inflammation, and establish that [weight] is one of the few modifiable variables influencing the major outcomes in RA." "There is an urgent need to address the issues of overweight and obesity to improve patients' chances of successful remission," said Gremese, of the Institute of Rheumatology and Affine Sciences at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, in Rome. Rheumatoid arthritis affects about one in 100 people worldwide. It can cause pain, stiffness, progressive joint destruction and deformity, and reduce physical function, quality of life, life expectancy and the ability to work. -- Robert Preidt Copyright 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved. Continue reading

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Patients with early arthritis consume less alcohol than controls, regardless of type of arthritis

Public release date: 19-Jun-2013 [ | E-mail | Share ] Contact: Kirsty Doole [email protected] 44-186-535-5439 Oxford University Press Patients who have early arthritis consume less alcohol than controls, regardless of the type of arthritis, according to a new study published online today in the journal Rheumatology. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA) specifically, the inverse association between alcohol and disease was greater in men than it was in women. Many new risk factors for RA have been discovered, although the only environmental risk factor that has been consistently shown to be associated with the disease is smoking. Studies examining alcohol consumption and RA have so far had conflicting results. In this new study, Annekoos L. Huidekoper, Diane van der Woude, and colleagues set out to investigate whether there is an association between alcohol consumption and arthritis in general, and with RA in particular. A total of 992 patients who had had arthritis and different diagnoses including RA, osteoarthritis, reactive arthritis, spondylarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis for two years or less, as well as 5,868 controls, were asked either by a trained research nurse, or through self-administered questionnaires, about their alcohol consumption. Those interviewed by a nurse were asked for an exact number of alcoholic drinks consumed per week, while those who filled in the questionnaire were asked (a) whether they consumed alcohol, and (b) if they did, how many units per week did they consume? There was a striking inverse relationship between drinking alcohol and the presence of all forms of arthritis. While 83% of the controls reported drinking alcohol, 53-68% of arthritis patients reported consuming alcohol. The lowest figure came from respondents with ACPA-positive RA*, while the highest figure came from patients with psoriatic arthritis. In patients with RA, the inverse association between alcohol and the disease was greater in men than it was in women, although remarkably this difference was not seen in the patients with other types of arthritis. However, the study did not find any significant dose-response relationship, nor did they detect an association between alcohol and the rate of joint destruction when examined over seven years. Diane van der Woude, one of the lead authors of the study, commented: "Our findings can be interpreted in several ways. One hypothesis might be that alcohol may suppress both the innate and adaptive immune system leading to a decrease of joint inflammation, as has been suggested by some previous studies. "Another possible explanation for our findings is that people with arthritis drink less alcohol due to their illness. This explanation seems probable since we observed a relationship between alcohol and the level of inflammation." Dr van der Woude also said: "The observed differences between men and women can also be interpreted in different ways. Perhaps men are more susceptible to the influence of alcohol on the pathophysiology of RA, or the decrease in alcohol consumption caused by the decrease in general well-being is more evident among individuals who consume more alcohol to begin with (often men) and who develop the most severe disease." While the study does have limitations, such as the risk of interviewer bias and recall bias, it is, to the authors' knowledge, the first to include not just patients with RA, but also patients with other types of arthritis, and the finding that alcohol is also inversely associated with these other types of the disease sheds new light on the association between alcohol consumption and RA. It also questions whether the effect of alcohol on the underlying pathophysiology is specific to RA. Continue reading

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