Finding Clues to Rheumatic Diseases

National study looking for 400 families with twins or close siblings

TUESDAY, May 20, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Four hundred families with twins or pairs of close brothers or sisters are being sought to take part in a study examining the causes of rheumatic diseases.

Specifically, the study by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is looking for volunteer families in which one twin or one of a pair of close siblings has rheumatoid arthritis, polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, systemic sclerosis or idiopathic inflammatory myopathy.

The other same-gender twin or sibling must be free of these diseases. Both children and adults are eligible to take part in the study, along with their parents.

The researchers note that, even in identical twins, the chances are more than 50 percent that one twin will have a rheumatic disease and the other will not.

That leads scientists to suspect that a combination of genetic variations and environmental exposures may be involved in the development of these rheumatic diseases.

This study will examine a number of environmental exposures such as drugs, vaccines, bacteria, viruses, dietary supplements, stress, occupational exposure and ultraviolet light.

Study volunteers will be followed for five years and be required to give blood and urine samples that the researchers will use to test for environmental exposures and minor gene variations that may increase susceptibility to rheumatic diseases.

To quality for the study, brother and sister pairs must be within 47 months of age of each other. For more about the study, you can call 1-800-411-1222 (TTY: 1-866-411-1010) or you can go to this Web site.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about rheumatic diseases.

Robert Preidt

Robert Preidt

Published on May 20, 2003

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