vitamin d deficiency

RA Research Briefs: Vitamin D, Shingles, Jobs

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.

SOURCE: International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, August 31, 2017

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.

SOURCE: Arthritis & Rheumatology, October 2017

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.

SOURCE: Arthritis Care & Research, March 2018

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