Immunology

Venoms are sources in the search for new medicines

Animal venoms are the subject of study at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo. But in this case, the idea is not to find antidotes, but rather to use the properties of the venoms themselves to identify molecular targets ...

Immunology

Regulating the MS-causing properties of Th17 cells

An international study group led by researchers from Osaka University identifies a protein regulator responsible for inducing the pathogenic properties of Th17 cells, leading to multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory autoimmune ...

Arthritis & Rheumatism

MRI-guided Tx strategy not superior for rheumatoid arthritis

(HealthDay)—A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided treat-to-target strategy is not associated with improved disease activity remission rates for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in clinical remission, according ...

Neuroscience

Yoga regimen reduces severity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms

According a study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, eight weeks of intensive yoga practice significantly decreases the severity of physical and psychological symptoms in patients with active rheumatoid ...

Arthritis & Rheumatism

Discontinuing TNFi before gestational week 20 is feasible

(HealthDay)—Discontinuing tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi) before gestational week 20 in women with well-controlled rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is not associated with disease ...

Arthritis & Rheumatism

Tofacitinib benefits sustained for two years in patients with RA

(HealthDay)—The clinical benefits of tofacitinib in combination with methotrexate are sustained over two years among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published online Jan. 22 in Arthritis & ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Tuberculosis—Inhibiting host cell death with immunotherapy

Tuberculosis treatment still entails the administration of several antibiotics over a period of months and is torturous for many patients. The pathogen's increasing multidrug resistance additionally complicates this lengthy ...

Immunology

Lab discovers how the immune system 'thinks'

New research from the laboratory of cancer scientist Dr. Tak Mak, renowned for cloning the human T-cell receptor, has demonstrated that immune cells make brain chemicals to fight off infections.

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks flexible (synovial) joints. The process produces an inflammatory response of the capsule around the joints (synovium) secondary to swelling (hyperplasia) of synovial cells, excess synovial fluid, and the development of fibrous tissue (pannus) in the synovium. The pathology of the disease process often leads to the destruction of articular cartilage and ankylosis of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also produce diffuse inflammation in the lungs, membrane around the heart (pericardium), the membranes of the lung (pleura), and white of the eye (sclera), and also nodular lesions, most common in subcutaneous tissue. Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, autoimmunity plays a pivotal role in both its chronicity and progression, and RA is considered a systemic autoimmune disease.

About 1% of the world's population is afflicted by rheumatoid arthritis, women three times more often than men. Onset is most frequent between the ages of 40 and 50, but people of any age can be affected. It can be a disabling and painful condition, which can lead to substantial loss of functioning and mobility if not adequately treated. It is a clinical diagnosis made on the basis of symptoms, physical exam, radiographs (X-rays) and labs, although the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) publish diagnostic guidelines. Diagnosis and long-term management are typically performed by a rheumatologist, an expert in joint, muscle and bone diseases.

Various treatments are available. Non-pharmacological treatment includes physical therapy, orthoses, occupational therapy and nutritional therapy but these do not stop the progression of joint destruction. Analgesia (painkillers) and anti-inflammatory drugs, including steroids, are used to suppress the symptoms, while disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are required to inhibit or halt the underlying immune process and prevent long-term damage. In recent times, the newer group of biologics has increased treatment options.

The name is based on the term "rheumatic fever", an illness which includes joint pain and is derived from the Greek word ῥεύμα-rheuma (nom.), ῥεύματος-rheumatos (gen.) ("flow, current"). The suffix -oid ("resembling") gives the translation as joint inflammation that resembles rheumatic fever. The first recognized description of rheumatoid arthritis was made in 1800 by Dr. Augustin Jacob Landré-Beauvais (1772–1840) of Paris.

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