Keep up-to-date on the latest rheumatoid arthritis (RA) research with our brief research summaries.
Vitamin D Deficiency Associated with Neuropathic Pain
People with RA who suffer from neuropathic pain – or, understandably, are trying to avoid it – may do well to have their vitamin D levels checked. A study examined neuropathic pain indicators as well as blood samples of 93 patients with RA. The researchers found the prevalence of neuropathic pain was almost six times higher in patients with serum vitamin D levels below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) than in patients with vitamin D levels ≥ 30 ng/mL. Anything below 20 ng/mL is considered a deficiency.
Timing the Shingles Vaccine
Giving the shingles vaccine 2–3 weeks before beginning treatment with the Janus kinase inhibitor tofacitinib (Xeljanz) results in a robust immune response against the varicella-zoster virus. This is according to a study that compared responses to the vaccine among 112 RA patients who received tofacitinib or a placebo afterwards. Because people with RA are at increased risk for shingles and drugs that modify the immune system may increase that risk, they are often advised to have the shingles vaccine before beginning treatment. This study helps confirm that strategy.
Some Jobs Associated with Higher RA Risk
RA is likely the result of a variety of factors. A Swedish study shows one of these could be your job. Researchers analyzed data – including work history and lifestyle factors – and blood samples from 3,522 people with RA and 5,580 controls. Among men, bricklayers and concrete workers had nearly three times the risk of RA compared to those with desk jobs. The researchers suspect that inhaled toxins may be responsible for the increased risk.
- Read More RA Research Briefs
- Vitamin D: Why We Need It, How to Get It
- More About Arthritis in the Workplace