A team of student engineers from William Marsh Rice University, a private research university located in Houston, Texas, has developed a robotic horse that may help patients with arthritis. Based on the premise of hippotherapy, also known as equine-assisted therapy, the horse simulator is a robotic horse that can be ridden indoors anytime.
Hippotherapy relies on horses to improve the symptoms of patients with neurological or physical illnesses like autism, cerebral palsy, and arthritis. The rhythmic, swinging motion passes through the entire body and is thought to enhance balance, coordination and motor development. This form of treatment is prohibitive because of its cost and accessibility. Physical therapy sessions with a horse can cost upwards of $150 an hour. Continue reading →
A research team from the University of Calgary and Statistics Canada found that people living with osteoarthritis (OA) have almost twice the risk of losing work time due to illness or disability as those without OA. Furthermore, the researchers found that people with OA are three times as likely to become unemployed.
Combining the National Population Health Survey, the researchers selected 659 people with OA, matched them with 2,144 non-OA individuals on the basis of age and sex, and compared their reported work time loss from 2000 to 2010. Work time loss was 90% higher and unemployment tripled due to illness or disability among the OA patients after adjusting for sociodemographic, health and work-related status.
Osteoarthritis is by far the most common type of arthritis. It is estimated to affect more than 3,200,000 Canadians-about 1 in 10. The disease is the leading cause of chronic pain and loss of mobility in Canada and is associated strongly with diminished productivity and increased utilization of healthcare resources. Disease onset usually occurs during the working years. Continue reading →
A recent study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology concluded that disease-modifying anti rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may influence rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients’ weight. The study looked at four DMARDs, including methotrexate, leflunomide, prednisone and tutor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFis).
Researcher Joshua F. Baker and his team at the Philadelphia VA Medical Centre in Pennsylvania assessed how primary RA therapies influence changes in body mass index (BMI). A low BMI is one of the adverse long-term outcome in RA and disease-related weight loss may be the result of RA symptoms or treatment therapy.
The team used three large administrative databases to identify 32,859 RA patients who received treatment with methotrexate, leflunomide, prednisone and TNFis. Researchers also assessed independent factors that may affect the study outcome, including the patient’s age, sex, race, BMI, seropositivity* for anticyclic citrullinated peptides (CCP), diabetes, current smoking habits, comorbidities, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, interstitial or other lung disease, malignancies, history of myocardial infarction, chronic kidney disease, and other factors.
Exploring Patient-Centered Care in Inflammatory Arthritis
A research team at the University of British Columbia is exploring experiences of people who have inflammatory arthritis dealing with their healthcare team. A healthcare team may include healthcare professionals, loved ones, and other caregivers.
The team is looking for patients who are:
age 18 years or older
live within the Greater Vancouver area
can understand and speak English
have been diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and other spondyloarthropathies, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout and pseudo-gout, lupus, connective tissue disorders)
have been diagnosed within the last two and a half (2.5) years
A recent study suggest that the risk of a flare increased by more than three-fold over 1 year when patients in remission, or with stable low disease activity, from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) stopped their anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) treatment. The study had 816 patients who had used a TNF inhibitor for at least 1 year and stable doses of conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs for at least 6 months.
In the study, a patient’s remission was defined as a disease activity score in 28 joints (DAS28) below 6.2, or had a low disease activity (a DAS28 below 3.2), for at least 6 months. Participants were also considered stable based on rheumatologists’ clinical impression in combination with a baseline DAS28 below 3.2 and at least one C-reactive protein (CRP) level below 10 mg/L in the 6 months prior. A flare was a DAS28 score of 3.2 or higher with an increase of 0.6 or more compared with the baseline DAS28. Participant’s mean age was 60, with mean disease duration of 12 years.