Genetic variation that protected against Black Death still helps against respiratory diseases today, but increases autoimmune disease risks

The same genetics that helped some of our ancestors fight the plague is still likely to be at work in our bodies today, potentially providing some of the population with extra protection against respiratory diseases such as COVID-19. However, there is a trade-off, where this same variation is also linked to increased autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Study Finds Holding Methotrexate for One Week after Flu Vaccine May Be as Effective as a Two-Week Hold

New research presented this week at ACR Convergence, the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting, showed that discontinuing methotrexate for 1 week after seasonal influenza vaccination provided the same seroprotection as a 2 week discontinuation period in patients with RA.

Study Finds Opioids Double Risk of Venous Thromboembolism in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

New research presented this week at ACR Convergence 2022, the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting, found that adult RA patients starting opioids had twice the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) compared to patients starting nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Primary Care Provider Training Program Improves RA Care on Navajo Nation

Research presented this week at ACR Convergence 2022, the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting, described a novel program that offers rheumatoid arthritis (RA) training to primary care providers in the Navajo Nation, the largest American Indian reservation in the United States.

Poll: Aching joints make older adults reach for many forms of pain relief – but health risks could follow

Popping a pill may bring short-term relief for arthritis-related joint pain, but many older adults may not realize that what they swallow could raise their risk of other health problems, or that other non-drug options could help them, a new poll suggests.

Mount Sinai Microbiome Lab Joins NIH’s Accelerating Medicines Partnership

The National Institutes of the Health (NIH) has awarded researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai a four-year grant to study the role of the human microbiome in rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and other autoimmune diseases. The grant is part of the NIH’s Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases (AMP® AIM) program, which is designed to speed the discovery of new treatments and diagnostics. It will support the Microbiome Technology and Analytic Center Hub (Micro-TEACH), a multidisciplinary team of researchers at Icahn Mount Sinai and NYU Langone Health.

Researchers Present Global Effort to Develop Machine Learning Tools for Automated Assessment of Radiographic Damage in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Crowdsourcing has become an increasingly popular way to develop machine learning algorithms to address many clinical problems in a variety of illnesses. Today at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) annual meeting, a multicenter team led by an investigator from Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) presented the results from the RA2-DREAM Challenge, a crowdsourced effort focused on developing better methods to quantify joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Study Finds Statins Lower CVD and Mortality in People with RA, Only Modestly Increase Diabetes Risk

New research presented this week at ACR Convergence, the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting, shows that statins are associated with reduced rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality in people with rheumatoid arthritis, but only modestly increase risk of type-2 diabetes, suggesting that statins’ benefits outweigh the risks in these patients.

Study Finds Disparities in RA Disease Activity and Physical Function Across Racial and Ethnic Groups

New research presented this week at ACR Convergence, the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting, found that racial and ethnic disparities for disease activity persist in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Black and Hispanic patients often had higher disease activity and lower self-reported functional status when compared to white patients.

Study Finds Cycling JAK Inhibitors Effective Option for Patients with Difficult-to-Treat RA

New research presented this week at ACR Convergence, the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting, shows that people with difficult-to-treat rheumatoid arthritis who do not have success with JAK inhibitor can achieve success either cycling to other JAKi or switching to a biologic drug.

Ultra-Low Dose Rituximab Controls Disease Activity for Most RA Patients in New Study

New research presented this week at ACR Convergence, the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting, shows the majority of rheumatoid arthritis patients on an ultra-low dose of rituximab maintained low disease activity for up to 4 years, and rarely needed to switch to other biologic drugs.

Mayo researchers link gut microbiome to rheumatoid arthritis prognosis

A significant indicator of whether a patient with rheumatoid arthritis will improve over the course of disease may lie in part in their gut, according to new research from Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine.

The study, published in Genome Medicine, found that predicting a patient’s future rheumatoid arthritis prognosis could be possible by zeroing in on the trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit their gastrointestinal tract, known as the gut microbiome. The findings suggest that gut microbes and a patient’s outcome of rheumatoid arthritis are connected.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Combined with Standard of Care May Help Reduce Mortality for Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who received the rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib, in combination with the standard of care including corticosteroids, died less often than those receiving only the standard of care, according to a study released this week in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Black Patients with RA Less Likely to Receive a Biologic, More Likely to Be Treated with Glucocorticoids Than Whites

A new study reveals that Black patients with rheumatoid arthritis were less likely to be prescribed a biologic treatment and more likely to use glucocorticoids, which carry a risk of serious long-term side effects. This study highlights ongoing racial disparities in the care of patients with rheumatic disease. Details of the study was shared at ACR Convergence, the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting.

New Rheumatoid Arthritis Guideline Emphasizes Maximizing Methotrexate and Biologics, Minimizing Steroids

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) will preview its 2020 Guideline for the Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) at ACR Convergence, the ACR’s annual meeting. The comprehensive, clinical recommendations for pharmacologic treatment of RA includes important updates to the previous guideline released in 2015.

“My Disease May Be Invisible, But I’m Not”: Patients Tell Their Stories During Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and Simple Tasks™ will recognize the fifth annual Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month (RDAM) this September with an awareness campaign that focuses on amplifying patient voices and experiences.

New study: Hydroxychloroquine ineffective as a preventive antiviral against COVID-19

esearchers at Case Western Reserve University have added to the growing body of understanding about how hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is not a possible defense against COVID-19.
Specifically, they found that HCQ is not effective in preventing COVID-19 in patients with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), suggesting a broader interpretation of HCQ as ineffective preventive medicine for the general population. Their findings were recently published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Better Biosensor Technology Created for Stem Cells

A Rutgers-led team has created better biosensor technology that may help lead to safe stem cell therapies for treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and other neurological disorders. The technology, which features a unique graphene and gold-based platform and high-tech imaging, monitors the fate of stem cells by detecting genetic material (RNA) involved in turning such cells into brain cells (neurons), according to a study in the journal Nano Letters.