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RA Research Briefs: Tofacitinib, Fish, Remission

RA Research Briefs: Tofacitinib, Fish, Remission

Keep up-to-date on the latest rheumatoid arthritis (RA) research with our brief research summaries. Tofacitinib Plus Methotrexate May Work As Well As Biologic If methotrexate (MTX) alone fails to control RA, adding the oral Janus kinase (JAX) inhibitor tofacitinib (Xeljanz) may be as effective as the standard practice of adding a biologic. The JAX inhibitor belongs to the third category of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) called targeted DMARDs. In a study of 1,146 patients with rheumatoid arthritis that had not adequately responded to MTX alone, approximately a third were switched to tofacitinib, while the others received either tofacitinib or the biologic adalimumab ...more
Study Ranks Treatments for Knee OA

Study Ranks Treatments for Knee OA

A new study takes a look at which approaches are best to bring relief to people with knee osteoarthritis (OA), a condition that affects approximately 20 percent of people over the age of 45 in the United States. Knee OA can be extremely painful and limit a person’s ability to function. Although there is no cure, numerous treatments are available to reduce symptoms, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Exercising and losing weight if a patient is overweight or obese also can help. Total knee replacement surgery is effective but is done only in cases where the disease is advanced and it’s ...more
Five Positive Ways to Boost your Mood and Relieve Stress and Pain

Five Positive Ways to Boost your Mood and Relieve Stress and Pain

It’s not always easy to stay positive – but dwelling on negative thoughts can do more than put you in a blue mood; your thoughts affect the way you feel mentally and physically, says Helen Grusd, PhD, a Los Angeles clinical psychologist who specializes in health psychology. Studies have shown that gloomy thoughts can worsen pain and fatigue and negatively affect your immune system. Fortunately, positive thinking can have the opposite effect. Try these simple mood boosters. Have a laugh Research shows that laughter decreases levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. It may also help support the immune system and protect ...more
Double Take: Twins with RA Fight It Together

Double Take: Twins with RA Fight It Together

Identical twins Annamarie and Ginamarie Russo share many qualities: They look and sound alike, they love acting and traveling – and both have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). For almost two decades, RA was one thing the twins, 31, did not share. Ginamarie was diagnosed with juvenile RA (now called juvenile idiopathic arth­ritis) when she was 12; Annamarie was diagnosed 18 years later, at age 30. “The pain started just after I turned 12,” says Ginamarie. She chalked it up to playing too much tennis, but the pain didn’t diminish. After seeing several doctors, she was finally diagnosed when she was almost 13. Although the ...more
Get the Rewards of Yoga Without the Risks

Get the Rewards of Yoga Without the Risks

From easing pain to boosting flexibility, yoga has a long list of benefits for people with arthritis. “Yoga is as safe as walking when it’s done properly,” says Steffany Moonaz, PhD, founder of Yoga for Arthritis and a research director at Maryland University of Integrative Health. However, many people do poses incorrectly or without proper support. In fact, a recent study revealed that nearly 11 percent of people who did yoga experienced pain at some point as a result, and 1 in 5 said yoga made an existing injury worse. Stay safe with these simple tips. Find the right class. Vinyasa and power ...more
Hyaluronic Acid for Osteoarthritis

Hyaluronic Acid for Osteoarthritis

If you have osteoarthritis (OA), you know all about joint pain and stiffness. One cause of these symptoms is the fact that hyaluronic acid (HA), a naturally occurring joint lubricant, breaks down in people with OA. To help alleviate the pain, your doctor might recommend treatment with hyaluronic acid injections – sometimes known as gel injections. What are HA injections? HA injections replace missing joint lubricant and are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the knees. However, some doctors may use the injections in shoulders and hips as well. The treatments will most likely take place in ...more
Voices: How Has a Loved One Supported You?

Voices: How Has a Loved One Supported You?

Three bloggers write about those who have given them strength and support in dealing with their health challenges. Carla Kienast  carlascorner.wordpress.com “I lean on the RA community” My husband has been my staunchest supporter – caring for me through nearly 20 surgeries since my diagnosis and supporting my decision to leave full-time employment due to my health, which was a huge decision. But the virtual and real friends I have made in the RA community see me through the day-to-day challenges of dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. Being able to connect and share with others who “get” what you’re going through is invaluable when ...more
Closing the Gap on the Nation’s Rheumatologist Shortage

Closing the Gap on the Nation’s Rheumatologist Shortage

Many of us know that access to care isn’t always a guarantee. All too often, seeing a rheumatologist includes traveling out of state because of the severe rheumatologist shortage. Last year we committed to closing this gap by offering Fellowship grants to universities in underserved areas. After careful consideration, we recently selected five schools to receive fellowship grants to help doctors advance in this specialty field. The institutions were offered $150,000 to launch new slots for established fellowship programs. We are thrilled to be able to offer these awards because of the impact the newly funded positions will have on their ...more
How to Read Sunscreen Labels

How to Read Sunscreen Labels

Wearing sunscreen is especially important for people with inflammatory arthritis and conditions such as lupus, because their medications or disease may make them extra sun-sensitive. But choosing the right sunscreen may not be so simple. The good news is sunscreen labels – governed by federal regulations and designed to rein in over-reaching claims like “waterproof” and “sunblock” – can help you pick the best protection for your skin. Here’s what to look for on sunscreen labels. Broad-spectrum protection Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation causes sunburn, while UVA exposure leads to skin cancer and early skin aging. Sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum” protects against both ...more
When Arthritis is a Family Affair

When Arthritis is a Family Affair

Alberta Dillihay’s children began urging her to stop working soon after her 2010 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis. Stress from her job as a public works supervisor in a busy office 45 minutes from her home, combined with finding the right arthritis treatments, could affect her health, they argued. “I was and am glad they were concerned and want to help. But sometimes it’s frustrating because you feel you’re being treated like a kid,” says Dillihay, 63. “You can still do what you need to do.” When a mom has arthritis, the family dynamic often changes. “That means who’s in charge shifts, as ...more