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FDA Approves First Drug for Newly Defined Spinal Condition

FDA Approves First Drug for Newly Defined Spinal Condition

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in late March approved the biologic medication certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor, to treat a newly defined condition called non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA). This spinal condition is now understood to be the early stage of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Like AS, it causes chronic, disabling back pain, stiffness and fatigue. However, nr-axSpA lacks the hallmark feature of AS: X-ray evidence of structural damage to the sacroiliac joints, which connect the lower spine to the pelvis. (The descriptor “non-radiographic” comes from this lack of X-ray evidence.) This distinction has kept some people ...more
Defying Gravity: Athlete and Dancer Reesa Partida Takes RA in Stride

Defying Gravity: Athlete and Dancer Reesa Partida Takes RA in Stride

Reesa Partida grasps and loops a dangling swath of fabric, places her foot against it and lithely climbs up before swooping into an aerobatic dance of twists, splits and perfectly pointed toes – a demonstration of grace and strength. “I think I was inspired by Cirque du Soleil,” Reesa says with a laugh. “I thought it looked like a lot of fun, so I started by taking a class three and a half years ago.” Performing these ballet-like dances while hanging from streams of fabric – called aerial silks – is a hobby she took up about a year after she ...more
Closing the Gap in the Nation’s Rheumatologist Shortage

Closing the Gap in the Nation’s Rheumatologist Shortage

Access to care for arthritis patients isn’t always a guarantee. All too often, seeing a rheumatologist includes traveling out of state because of the severe rheumatologist shortage. We are committed to closing this gap by offering fellowship grants to universities in underserved areas that offer innovative training programs. We recently selected four schools to receive fellowship grants to help doctors advance in this specialty field. We are thrilled to offer these awards because of the impact the newly-funded positions will have on their communities and the partnership opportunities that will arise. “According to the American College of Rheumatology’s most recent workforce study, ...more
Gardening Solutions for Achy Joints

Gardening Solutions for Achy Joints

Gardening boosts your mood and fitness, but it can be tough on your body. The right tools and moves can reduce the stress on your joints, says Amy Wagenfeld, associate professor of occupational therapy at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. This spring, tend to your green thumb – and your arthritis – with these simple solutions.  IF THIS HURTS: Lugging heavy soil, plants and water.  TRY THIS: Invest in a two-wheeled garden cart, suggests Wagenfeld. “It’s more stable than a wheelbarrow.” To lighten the load, take two or more trips. When picking up a bag of mulch or a pot, don’t bend over; squat down and use your legs, not your back, to lift. Opt for soaker hoses ...more
Celebrate Spring With These Fresh Seasonal Soups

Celebrate Spring With These Fresh Seasonal Soups

Send your winter recipes into hibernation and use fresh finds from the farm stand to whip up these light, nutritious soups. They taste like sunshine in a bowl.   Asparagus Minestrone  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add a 10-ounce package mirepoix and heat 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a pint of cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Heat 30 seconds. Add a 14-ounce can cannellini or navy beans (rinsed and drained) and 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth to pan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Trim woody ends ...more
Coming Soon to a City Near You: The 35th Annual National Juvenile Arthritis Conference

Coming Soon to a City Near You: The 35th Annual National Juvenile Arthritis Conference

IN A WORLD… where everyday kids become WARRIORS and battle arthritis as the JA League! All kids and young adults with juvenile arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are heroes —members of our JA League. Every day, these Warriors battle the challenges that try to hold them back. But in the end, WE WIN! Don’t miss the latest, greatest blockbuster, starring YOU — connecting with other JA superstars. In the United States, nearly 300,000 children, teens, young adults and their families deal with the pain and other difficulties of JA and related childhood rheumatic diseases. The Arthritis Foundation is here to empower them ...more
Taking Steps toward Patient Centered Reforms | Safe Step Act Introduced Today!

Taking Steps toward Patient Centered Reforms | Safe Step Act Introduced Today!

My name is Katie Roberts and I’ve lived with a severe and debilitating form of psoriatic arthritis for nearly 40 years, and psoriasis, a painful skin condition, for nearly 30 years. I’m an Advocate for Arthritis and the Chair of the Maryland Advocacy committee because I’m passionate about sharing my story to break down barriers to care, especially step therapy. Katie Roberts At an appointment with a rheumatologist at age 17, I was told I would likely not live long enough to see my 21st birthday – my body was slowly shutting down from years with an autoimmune disease. It was ...more
Two Gout Drugs Removed From Market

Two Gout Drugs Removed From Market

If you have gout and rely on lesinurad (Zurampic) or lesinurad plus allopurinol (Duzallo), you’ll need to check with your doctor to find an alternative for managing the pain, swelling, redness and other symptoms of your disease. That’s because these two drugs have been pulled from the market. Ironwood Pharmaceuticals discontinued sales of these two gout drugs in February 2019. The patient savings programs for both medications were discontinued effective December 31, 2018. “This is a business decision and is not related to any efficacy, safety or clinical concerns with lesinurad,” the company said when it made the announcement. The Food and Drug ...more
CARRA 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting

CARRA 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting

The 15th annual scientific meeting of the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) opens today in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the next few days, this event will draw about 500 physicians, nurses, patients, parents and representatives from health advocacy organizations — to develop, design and operationalize specific research projects that answer important questions about pediatric rheumatic diseases. The Arthritis Foundation, AbbVie, Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech and Novartis are key financial supporters of this meeting. CARRA’s annual meeting offers attendees the opportunity to work together to discuss specific diseases and prioritize research agendas. We collaborate scientifically and clinically to plan research aimed at improving outcomes ...more
What You Should Know About the Latest Fitness Fad: Stretching Gyms

What You Should Know About the Latest Fitness Fad: Stretching Gyms

While stretching is an important part of any workout, fitness studios known as stretching gyms make it the focus. Stretching instructors help lengthen and loosen muscles, either working one-on-one with clients and physically adding gentle pressure to deepen stretches, or by guiding a class through a series of stretches with props, such as foam rollers and bands.  “There’s no question that stretching benefits people with arthritis,” says Cory Feger, a physical therapist in Louisville, Kentucky. “It improves range of motion, lubricates joints and increases blood flow to muscles.” But are these new gyms and classes safe for people with arthritis? While they can be useful, Feger recommends proceeding with caution. Here’s how:  ASK ...more