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New robotic horse for arthritis

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

Have you signed up yet?

Have you recently been recommended to START or SWITCH biologic medications for rheumatoid arthritis?

SuPER study bannerWe are looking for people with rheumatoid arthritis across Canada to test a new online tool that helps to make decisions about using biologic medications.

If you have been recommended to consider STARTING or SWITCHING biologics, we invite you to participate in this study.

You may be eligible if you:

  1. Have rheumatoid arthritis
  2. See a rheumatologist
  3. You are considering or reconsidering starting or switching biologics
  4. Have a valid email and internet access

This study can be completed from home or anywhere with internet access. Any information you provide will be completely confidential. An honorarium will be provided for your time.

If you would like more information, please contact Jasmina Memetovic, Research Coordinator by phone at 604-207-4007, toll free 1-877-871-4575, or email jmemetovic@arthritisresearch.ca.

Increased risk of chronic kidney disease in RA patients

A picture of a kidney in human hand

Image courtesy of Anusorn P nacho at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

According to a recent research study, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients are at an increased risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD). Along with CKD, researchers also observe increased inflammation within the first year of diagnosis, corticosteroid usage, hypertension, and obesity.

In the study, researchers monitored 813 Mayo Clinic patients with RA and 813 patients without RA for 20 years. They found that RA patients had a one in four chance of developing CKD, while the general public had a one in five chance. “That might not seem like a lot, but in fact that’s quite a big difference, and it has important implications for the course of rheumatoid arthritis and for the management of the disease,” said Dr. Eric Matteson, senior author of the study. Continue reading

Osteoarthritis patients at risk of unemployment

Business MeetingA 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

Weight loss and gain in rheumatoid arthritis patients

Picture of a scaleA 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.

Here are the findings from the study: Continue reading

The Power of the Patient

Exploring Patient-Centered Care in Inflammatory Arthritis

Two women talkingA 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:

  1. age 18 years or older
  2. live within the Greater Vancouver area
  3. can understand and speak English
  4. 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)
  5. have been diagnosed within the last two and a half (2.5) years

Continue reading