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June 2006 Briefing - Rheumatology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Rheumatology for June 2006. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Disability Prevalent in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis are unable to perform valued life activities (VLA), and their disability is more pronounced in committed and discretionary activities than in obligatory activities, according to a study in the June issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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FDA Warns of Ketek-Associated Liver Problems

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to health care professionals and patients to be aware of the potential of rare, but serious risks of liver injury with the antibiotic Ketek (telithromycin).

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Infliximab Resistance Identified in RA Patients

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Rheumatoid arthritis patients who take the anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) agent infliximab are more likely to experience drug resistance than those taking other anti-TNF agents, according to a study in the June issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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Rheumatoid Remission in Pregnancy Linked to Fetal DNA

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Rising levels of fetal DNA in maternal serum may be responsible for the disease improvements known to occur during pregnancy among women with inflammatory arthritis, according to new research in the July issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Three New Genes Implicated in Rheumatoid Arthritis

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Using complementary DNA microarray analysis of blood samples from disease-discordant monozygotic twins, researchers have identified three new genes that appear to play a role in rheumatoid arthritis, according to a report in the July issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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NEJM Issues Correction on 2005 Vioxx Study

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- The New England Journal of Medicine has issued a correction to the Adenomatous Polyp Prevention on Vioxx (APPROVe) trial, a 2005 publication that suggested that thrombotic events in rofecoxib-treated patients only diverged from placebo after 18 months of treatment. However, an error in the analysis now indicates that adverse events diverged from the placebo group prior to 18 months, the authors report.

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Abatacept Helps Methotrexate-Resistant RA

FRIDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Abatacept (Orencia) can reduce disease activity and retard radiographic progression in patients who have active rheumatoid arthritis despite treatment with methotrexate, according to a study published in the June 20 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine .

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Family History Linked to Heart Risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis

FRIDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Rheumatoid arthritis patients have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than the general population, but the risk is even higher if they have a family history of heart disease, according to a report in the June issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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FDA Approves Enbrel Autoinjector

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Enbrel (etanercept) SureClick autoinjector as the first and only autoinjector for psoriatic and rheumatic diseases, according to Amgen, the manufacturer.

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Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Risk Linked to Sjogren's

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Sjogren's syndrome patients do have an elevated risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, although the risk may not be as high as previously thought, according to a report in the June issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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Ultramarathon Can Cause Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Prolonged, moderate intensity exercise experienced by ultramarathon runners may cause a significant rise in indicators of muscle and liver damage and cause serum enzyme activity changes similar to those which occur in an acute myocardial infarction, according to a report in the June issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. However, this rise in creatine kinase and other factors is not accompanied by severe symptoms that require hospitalization, they note.

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Researchers Identify Autoantibody in Scleroderma

WEDNESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with scleroderma produce autoantibodies that stimulate the platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR), which in turn activates the expression of collagen genes, according to a study published in the June 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study provides new insight into the pathogenesis of the disease, the authors report.

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Cyclophosphamide Has Modest Lung Effect in Scleroderma

WEDNESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with cyclophosphamide can produce significant but modest clinical gains in lung function for scleroderma patients, according to a study published in the June 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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High-Dose Cox-2 Inhibitors, NSAIDs Risky for MI Patients

MONDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who have previously had a myocardial infarction (MI), the use of high dosages of selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors and other nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) carries an increased risk of mortality, according to a study published online June 19 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Scleroderma Microvascular Response Localized to Fingers

FRIDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), abnormal microvascular response is limited to the fingers, according to a study published in the June issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Fentanyl Patch Offers Relief from Osteoarthritis Pain

THURSDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with moderate to severe knee or hip osteoarthritis, transdermal fentanyl (TDF) may reduce pain and improve function compared with placebo, according to a study published in the June issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Epstein-Barr Titers Up Decades Before Multiple Sclerosis

WEDNESDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- Elevated levels of anti-Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibodies can be found up to 20 years before the onset of multiple sclerosis and may be an early sign of multiple sclerosis rather than a non-specific dysregulation of the immune system, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Hodgkin Disease Type Varies Geographically

TUESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Hodgkin disease survival may differ between Europe and the United States due to regional variations in the disease types, according to a report in the July 15 issue of Cancer.

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Overweight Children Have More Pain, Fractures

WEDNESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight children experience more bone fractures and weight-related musculoskeletal pain than their peers who are not overweight, according to a report published in the June issue of Pediatrics.

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FDA Approves Resumption of Marketing for Tysabri

WEDNESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the resumption of marketing for Tysabri (natalizumab) under a restricted distribution program. The drug, a monoclonal antibody, is used in multiple sclerosis patients to reduce the frequency of flare-ups.

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Meta-Analysis Finds COX-2 Inhibitors, NSAID Risk Similar

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Selective COX-2 inhibitors and high doses of some traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) carry similar risks of cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction, according to a meta-analysis published in the June 3 issue of BMJ.

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New Type of Mutation Found to Cause Alpha-Thalassemia

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- A single mutation that results in the inherited blood disorder alpha-thalassemia lies outside the region where disease-causing mutations usually occur, according to a report in the May 26 issue of Science.

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Ethnicity of Lupus, Arthritis Patients Affects Trust in Doctor

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- The ethnic group and gender of a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis can affect their trust in physicians, with black and Hispanic patients less likely than whites to trust their physicians, according to a study published in the June 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research. In addition, black and Hispanic men with such diseases are less likely than women of the same ethnicity to trust their physician.

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Juvenile Arthritis Progresses Faster in Medicaid Patients

THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis patients insured through Medicaid are more severely disabled and the disease advances faster than in similar patients with private insurance, according to a report published online May 31 in Arthritis Care & Research.

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