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Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Preventable?

Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Preventable?
Results of a newly published study suggest that personalized medicine approaches may result in health behavior that may reduce RA risk.                                                                                                       
We have gotten to the point where we’ve identified some modifiable behaviors that affect rheumatoid arthritis risk,” says Jeffrey A. Sparks, MD, MMSc, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “We have made a lot of progress in observational studies to identify risk factors for RA, and the next step is trying to target prevention strategies for those at risk.”

Randomized, Controlled Trial

Dr. Sparks, Elizabeth Karlson, MD, MPH, and other colleagues performed a randomized, controlled trial among 238 first-degree relatives of patients with RA.1
RESULTS

Motivated to Change Following Education

“What we found is that, overall, people are motivated to change those behaviors once they were educated about them using this novel, personalized RA risk calculator,” says Dr. Sparks. “Just the act of giving this RA risk calculator to first-degree relatives made them want to change those behaviors more than those that were receiving standard care in the comparison arm.”
“In practice, we know there are behaviors related to RA risk,” says Dr. Sparks. “We have shown that telling people about their risk for RA really does change behaviors—and for the better. Although this doesn’t directly address whether these interventions change a person’s risk, we know these are healthy behaviors from many aspects.” 

Read the full article by Kurt Ullman at The Rheumatologist newsmagazine reports on issues and trends in the management and treatment of rheumatic diseases. 


References

  1. Sparks JA, Iversen MD, Yu Z, et al. Disclosure of personalized rheumatoid arthritis risk using genetics, biomarkers, and lifestyle factors to motivate health behavior improvements: A randomized controlled trialArthritis Care Res. 2017 (in press).

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