The most recent EULAR recommendations for pain management in inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis (OA) include physical activity and exercise as a part of a patient’s treatment plan. Physical activity has been shown to significantly ease joint pain and increase mobility, for this reason, exercise is increasingly being prescribed by physicians and other healthcare providers.
Some examples of well-known and effective exercises for people with arthritis include walking, biking and swimming. These are low-impact aerobic exercises, meaning they will generally be easier on the joints and cause your heart rate to increase. Are there other activities that could also benefit people living with arthritis, such as yoga?
Researchers are recruiting individuals with and without inflammatory arthritis for a study that will explore the health benefits of everyday activities. While the main goal of this study is to explore the relationship between everyday activities and health outcomes of those with inflammatory arthritis, we are also asking people without arthritis to participate in order to determine how the relationship between everyday activities and health differs between groups. The research is conducted by a PhD trainee who is affiliated with Arthritis Research Canada and the University of British Columbia.
You are eligible if you:
Have inflammatory arthritis (with no other major health conditions) OR do not have inflammatory arthritis and are generally healthy
Are 19 years of age or older
Do not currently smoke
Participants will attend a two-hour group session in British Columbia to fill out health and activity questionnaires, and provide blood samples using a pinprick blood test (five blood spots). Participants will receive a monetary honorarium in appreciation for their time, as well as reimbursement for any parking or transit expenses.
Why do this research?
Other than physical activity, there is little evidence regarding the types of activities or occupations that support living well with inflammatory arthritis. We aim to study the health benefits of people’s everyday activities, with an emphasis on social and creative characteristics of activities, among adults with and without inflammatory arthritis.
Despite the lack of scientific proof, stem cell therapy is becoming increasingly popular, with dozens of clinics open across Canada and hundreds in the United States. These clinics are offering treatment for a wide range of diseases including asthma, multiple sclerosis, crohn’s, osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis. A recent study found that Canadian businesses are making strong and unproven claims about the benefits of stem cell therapy. Advertisements intentionally use scientific language which can mislead consumers into thinking they are science-based therapies. While there are credible facilities that do stem cell transplants for conditions such as cancers of the blood, there isn’t sufficient research to support the safety and efficacy for treating other diseases such as osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis. As stated by researcher Leigh Turner on CTV news, “you have a lot of companies and clinics setting up shop and there’s this pretty big gap between the marketing claims they make and the current state of stem cell research.” A different article exploring the boom of stem cell clinics in America, found that advertisements use patient testimonial to appeal to consumers, which may just be a result of the placebo effect.
Fitbit’s are wearable devices that individuals can use to track their daily physical activity and increase motivation to do physical activity. Fitbit devices offer real time data on various aspects of daily life including number of steps taken, energy expenditure, time spent asleep, and time spent in different levels of activity. Fitbit devices are becoming increasingly popular in the health-conscious consumer public; they are also being used more frequently in research as measurement tools and to inform healthcare decisions. But are they accurate?
A team of researchers at Arthritis Research Canada and the University of British Columbia, lead by Dr. Lynne Freehan, recently conducted a study to find out how accurate Fitbit devices are as measurement tools. Currently, several devices exist that have been identified as a “research standard” for activity tracking. In this review, researchers measured Fitbit’s accuracy by comparing the readings to that of the research-grade devices.
On World Suicide Prevention Day, learn more about the connection between osteoarthritis, insomnia, and depression. According to a recent study published in Arthritis Care & Research, pain, insomnia and depression were the main reasons for people living with osteoarthritis (OA) to schedule a visit with their doctor.
The study consisted of 2,976 people and half the participants had at least one of three symptoms: pain, insomnia, and depression. An estimated 34 percent of the patients studied experienced insomnia and 29 percent had depression, in addition to moderate to severe pain.
Dr. Minhui Liu is the lead author of the study and a research fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore. His team found that among patients with osteoarthritis, about 47 percent of them reported moderate to severe pain, 17 percent clinical insomnia, and 21 percent clinical depression. In addition, about 13 percent of participants experienced moderate to severe pain and clinical insomnia at the same time, and 13 percent experienced moderate to severe pain and clinical depression at the same time. Continue reading →
Participate in a new study that will use wearable activity trackers, paired with a new web application, and physical activity counselling to help you get more active!
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are types of inflammatory arthritis that causes inflammation and deformity of the joints, and affects your immune system. Physical activity can help to decrease pain and disability in joints affected by RA and SLE while benefiting your overall health.
If you are a person living with RA or SLE, and are interested in getting more active, we invite YOU to participate in the OPAM-IA study. Through participating in the OPAM-IA study, you will learn how to get active with RA or SLE. You will be asked to attend an education session, use a Fitbit Flex activity tracker with the new web application, and receive counselling from a registered physiotherapist. The total time commitment for the study is 6 months. There will be an in-person education session which takes place in the Greater Vancouver Area.
If you are interested, please fill out a 2-minute screening questionnaire. All responses will remain confidential, and you will be contacted by a research staff member within 48 hours to discuss your eligibility further.
Have you had a hip or knee replacement in the last 4 months? Are you interested in being able to give feedback on the quality of rehabilitation care you received?
You are invited to take part in a study to pilot test a new questionnaire on the quality of rehabilitation care after joint replacement surgery.
Your feedback will help us to develop a patient-friendly questionnaire that will be included in an online toolkit of print and web-based resources that help people having joint replacement surgery participate in their own care and track the quality of rehab received.
You can participate if you:
Had a primary (first time) total hip or knee replacement surgery for osteoarthritis (OA) in the past 4 months
Have almost finished or just finished your supervised rehabilitation
Are 19 years of age or older
Speak and read English
Are comfortable using a computer
What does participation involve?
Complete a series of short online questionnaires and “think aloud” so a researcher can note any questions or issues you experience
Share your views about the online questionnaires during a short (45-minute) small group discussion immediately afterwards. Group discussions are currently planned for:
Thursday, August 23rd 10-11: 30 am and 1-2: 30 pm
Thursday, August 30th 10-11: 30 am
For more information about this Study please contact:
Centre for Hip Health and Mobility
2635 Laurel Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-675-2578 or
With summer upon us, millions of Canadian youth are participating in sport activities every day. Sport and recreation is a great way for youth to get exercise, socialize, develop teamwork skills and improve mental and physical health. Unfortunately, the benefits of sport also come with the risk of injury. In fact, one in three youth aged 11-18 years will sustain a sport-related injury that requires medical attention each year, with knee and ankle injuries being the most common. Research has shown that these youth sport injuries, if not treated properly, can lead to osteoarthritis (OA) within 15 years, specifically a form known as post-traumatic osteoarthritis. Youth sport injury can also lead to obesity later in life, which happens to be another major risk factor for OA. This means that youth with 1 major risk factor for OA (joint injury) are in danger of acquiring a second risk factor for the disease (obesity).
Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of cartilage in the joints and affects more than 5 million Canadians nation-wide; the disease can cause moderate to severe pain, disability and even require surgery. Osteoarthritis symptoms generally appear 10-15 years after a joint injury, and by this time the disease is very difficult to treat. Unlike inflammatory arthritis, there are no medications to slow the disease process of osteoarthritis, so preventative measures are of even greater importance. The upside? We can ensure our youth take proper precautions to avoid injury and hugely minimize their risk of developing OA.
A final observation from this year’s EULAR meeting
A final observation from this year’s EULAR meeting encouraging to all patients is the emphasis many sessions had on the importance of patient participation and partnerships for achieving research outcomes that are relevant to the actual patients. Many presentations clearly communicated that no matter how complicated the research or how brilliant the researcher, patients can always offer unique, invaluable insights.
Experience in Europe and North America has shown that patient advice when designing, implementing and disseminating research outcomes makes studies more effective, more credible and possibly even more cost efficient. Continue reading →
Arthritis Broadcast Network had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Cheryl Barnabe at a #CRArthritis event, a champion of arthritis care and research in Indigenous communities. In this interview, Dr. Cheryl Barnabe, Assistant Professor at the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Calgary, shares with us information from her workshop “Investigating access to arthritis health services for Aboriginal people: A Framework for System Reform”.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1% of the Canadian population or 1 out of every 100 people. This increases to 5% for aboriginal Canadians. This population not only is at greater risk for getting RA but the disease is more severe than with other populations. For aboriginal people rheumatoid arthritis is one of the five top five chronic diseases reported. More Canadian women get RA then men (3:1), however, this figure almost doubles for aboriginal women.
A study conducted by the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) 2002, by First Nations people for First Nations people, had approximately 22,000 participants making up 238 communities, both on-reserve and off-reserve First Nations people across Canada.
The following highlights some of the results of the study:
arthritis is one of the five top conditions to affect the First Nations population
more than half (52%) of First Nations adults with disabilities reported having arthritis compared to 14.6% without disabilities
25.3% of First Nations adults have arthritis compared to 19.1% of the general Canadian population
there is a higher rate of arthritis among First Nations women compared to other women in Canada, except for women over 60 years of age. The following chart shows the range of difference between these two groups with more than double the First Nations women with arthritis compared to other Canadian women up to age 39 years.
Dr. Barnabe is also a past recipient of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Foundation Grant. Below is the description of the award on the CIHR website:
Developing a more complete picture of arthritis in Indigenous communities
“Most people aren’t aware that women and Indigenous people are at a much higher risk for arthritis, and that kids can get arthritis too.” — Dr. Cheryl Barnabe
CIHR Foundation Grant Recipient
Dr. Cheryl Barnabe
Cumming School of Medicine
University of Calgary
Dr. Barnabe’s Research
Dr. Cheryl Barnabe, a Métis clinician and researcher at the University of Calgary, is exploring why arthritis appears to disproportionately affect Indigenous communities, and what can be done to reduce these disparities. Continue reading →