The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team has lost one of their outfielders to a form of inflammatory arthritis. Franklin Gutierrez signed with the Dodgers and was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) this year. While Gutierrez is likely acutely aware of the effects of his disease, the media has not provided much information about this more common than a rare form of inflammatory arthritis.
The LA Times recently published an article covering the story: “Rare condition sends Dodgers’ Franklin Gutierrez to the disabled list“. Calling AS a “condition” discredits the fact that inflammatory arthritis is autoimmune in nature – like multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes and lupus – and disables people if not appropriately diagnosed and treated. The Arthritis Foundation states there are roughly 500,000 people in America that live with AS and the back pain associated with it. It also is a type of arthritis that affects men more than women – specifically males in their teens and twenties.
The issue with AS is that it takes on average seven years for men to be appropriately diagnosed; for women, 10 years. Because it strikes young people, symptoms – like chronic pain in the low back, Achilles tendon, and peripheral joints such as knees and in the hands (primarily in women) – are often ignored for years and written off as being “sports injuries” or simply “over doing it”. It is common for people to live with AS for years before they are properly diagnosed.
Gutierrez is one of the lucky few who has intensive treatment consisting of medication, diet, stretching, and massages from the LA Dodgers’ staff as stated in the LA Times article; still, this disease has forced him to sit out. Hopefully, more insight into examples like this can bring to light that autoimmune diseases like Gutierrez’s AS are far from rare, and are serious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis (OA) than men. Even though osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, scientists have not been able to find the reasons for this unequal trend.
A team of arthritis researchers from Augusta University (Kolhe et al.) have found new knowledge that can help explain why women may be at more risk for OA than men. The researchers looked at the “exosomes” (cellular packages filled with different substances our cells release to aid with cell communication) released in both male and female patients with OA.
The exosomes the researchers were concerned with were the ones that held microRNAs (miRNAs). miRNAs are short segments of RNA (a template in all cells that helps to transmit DNA instructions) that help to regulate how our body expresses the genes held in our DNA.
The results found that the miRNAs found in the exosomes studied behaved very differently in men and women. The differences lie in female miRNAs that have to do with collagen production and estrogen signaling; the female miRNAs were altered and deactivated more often than male miRNAs.
This difference led the researchers to look at estrogen’s role in OA. What they found was that when estrogen levels dropped, there was an increase in the number of cells that break down bones. This correlation is important because when women enter menopause their estrogen levels drop possibly resulting in an increased susceptibility to OA and possibly explaining why women have OA more often than men.
The team’s research into exosomes, microRNAs, and estrogen’s role in osteoarthritis provides important new insights into why women may be more at risk for developing osteoarthritis than men. For more information on osteoarthritis and treatment solutions visit Arthritis Consumer Expert’s spotlight on osteoarthritis.
The bacteria in your gut do more than break down your food. They can also predict susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis. More than 300,000 Canadians have rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disease that causes painful swelling in the joints and scientists still have a limited understanding of the processes that triggers the disease.
A study published by a team of researchers from the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital have investigated a potential relationship between the mucous membrane of the gut and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis affect not only children, seniors, and even Pope John Paul II, but two all-star NBA players and ex-teammates who dominated the hardwood over the pass 15 years. Together, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant won three consecutive NBA titles before personality differences led Shaq to leave and sign with Miami.
While at Miami Shaq was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his big toe (“Big” when you consider he has size 23 feet). It affected Shaq’s game when he missed the first 12 games of the 2002-2003 because of toe surgery to treat his arthritis during which time he stated, “I got hurt on company time, so I’ll heal on company time.”
A few years after Shaq’s diagnosis, Kobe was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis may be a long name, but in short it motivated Kobe to travel to Germany to get a procedure by a little-known molecular orthopedist named Dr. Peter Wehling, as seen above. Inflammatory arthritis has affected Kobe’s game but we may be closer to a cure after Dr. Peter Wehling stated taht he has had a 90% success rate with, “…genetically screening his patients to personlize their treatments.”