An arthritis ‘pacemaker’ is on the horizon. The device is a tiny electronic implant fitted under the skin near the collarbone. It works by sending electrical pulses to the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve is stimulated by the electric pulse, it sends a signal from the brain to key organs such as the spleen and triggers a decrease in the production of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that help regulate the immune system and can cause inflammation in joints.
The arthritis ‘pacemaker’ is currently being tested in the Netherlands with people who live with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Scientists found that the use of electrical pulse can have a similar positive effect on RA without the side effects of medications. The medical device should be available in the United Kingdom by 2020. A patient who took part in the pilot study said: “I have my life back, like before I got arthritis.”
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Clare Jacklin of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society cautions: “The disease is different in different people. This new device may well be impactful for some patients dependent on their disease profile.”
The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) has published updated recommendations on the management of fibromyalgia. The detailed recommendations can be found in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized primarily by chronic widespread pain (CWP) in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and a heightened sensitivity to touch resulting in pain that can last for months.
EULAR Press interviews Cheryl Koehn on patient satisfaction and RA treatment
Cheryl Koehn discusses the importance of treatment conversations between patients and healthcare professionals.
This year’s European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR2016) highlighted patient-focused initiatives that aimed to:
Improve the understanding of the patient perspective
Encourage patient participation
Optimize care of rheumatic diseases
One of the initiatives is the RA NarRAtive initiative – a patient survey fielded in 15 countries around the world and designed to evaluate the patient/healthcare professional relationship and communication and patients’ experience and satisfaction with treatment and disease management. To view the interview with Cheryl Koehn, please click here.
“Further understanding the responses from this survey will be important to facilitate communication between patients and healthcare professionals, with the ultimate aim of improving treatment outcomes,” said Ms. Cheryl Koehn, President of Arthritis Consumer Experts and member of the RA NarRAtive global advisory panel.
To learn more about the study, please click here to view the press release.
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 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.
Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhoto.net
Researchers from the Queen Mary University of London have developed a new treatment that can deliver drugs directly into cartilage – tissue reviously thought to be impenetrable. The treatment uses tiny particles of a patient’s own cells to carry the medications into affected joints.
In an interview with the Express, Professor Mauro Perretti of Queen Mary University of London said: “Cartilage has long been thought to be impenetrable to cells and other small structures leading to strong limitations in our abilities to deliver therapies for arthritis.” The new treatment would only require patients to visit the hospital once every three months and would not cause the side-effects associated with other therapies. Continue reading →