Optimism around RA!

November 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 7 Comments
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This morning while Cinder-hubby washed the kitchen floor, prepared tonight’s dinner for slow-cooking, tidied up and made bread, I sat in bed and played on my iPad. No doubt hubby thought I was wasting my life away again on Forge of Empires (not that he doesn’t play too!) But no, I was researching to try to be a bit more informed when I got to the Future of Health conference on Friday. I wish I was at the American College of Rheumatology Conference right now, putting faces to all my blogging friends’ names –Wren tells us that Carla is there, from Carla’s Corner, and All Flared Up‘s endlessly entertaining Amanda, and Cathy sharing her The Life and Adventures of Catepoo, not to mention the wonderful Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy (Eduardo it turns out, not Guy … 🙂 ) plus a whole bunch of others I really should get to know. But let that not take away the fact that I’m mighty chuffed to be going to Future of Health, even if I will be Billy No-Mates there. 🙂

So, back to the research. Well what I’ve found out (or had confirmed?) about the NHS will be another post, but here’s the RA stuff I was looking at. What I found about the science of RA comes mostly from the ACR conference via twitter, but before we get into that there are two great posts I’ve come across recently on the importance of a scientific evidence base, from two great bloggers. There’s this article about why arthritis is so hard to study and cure from Kelly the RA Warrior, and then there’s Andrew the self-confessed science geek on evidence-based medicine and its importance for RA – a lovely, balanced article which clearly states what an evidence base is and doesn’t poo-poo alternatives either, but making the excellent point that what works for one individual won’t necessarily work for another, but that if there’s an evidence base to suggest it works for a large percentage that’s got to be a good thing, right? Right! So now – onto the evidence!

This is some brief thoughts on the exciting (relatively) new area of microbiomes – pretty complex stuff but a lovely, clear, optimistic summary with more to come. Take a look and then keep your ears open for more on this topic in future!

And then there’s this:

It seems there’s a bio-marker which can (hopefully) predict which patients are mostly likely to respond to biologics – so long as this is trialled properly and then, if successful, used with caution (i.e. it might not be right in 100% of cases) then that’ll be good news because those patients who are likely to respond can be treated quickly, and those who aren’t can be tried with more traditional drugs (good ol’ MTX for instance) which might control things better for them. It’s early days yet, hence all the ‘seems’ and ‘hopefully’s, but potentially good news.

OK, yes, slightly less encouraging in seeing that one’s disease is related to particular cancers, but the encouraging bit is that TNFi biologics have not been shown to be associated with increased risk in that area.

So there we are, that’s the good news about something that rarely has anything good about it. For my next post*, the mixed news about the dear ol’ NHS.


* I hope I haven’t doomed that post. Every time I say ‘I will write a post about …’ on this blog, somethign happens and it doesn’t get written!



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  1. Oh great about the cancer :/

  2. Lol – focus on the one negative if you must!!

  3. Well, it makes me nervous because my belly is full of crappy ovarian cysts, that aren’t “typical” according to my GYN… so it is on my mind, A LOT!

  4. Great post, Penguin! It sounds like you’ve got a really exciting Friday coming up. I do wish that Joint Decisions had asked you to come along as well–maybe they will someday! Sometimes wishes come true. 😉

    I was also sorry to hear about the RA/cancer connection. Lovely, that. But you also pointed out some very hopeful new developments, too. I’m particularly impressed by a possible blood test that might show us which medications will work best for us, individually. Such a test could do away with 1-2 years of experimentation with different drugs as we try to figure out which will work. Yay!

    I’m looking forward to learning more when you come home. You’ll write that post, I know it. Sending you a warm hug, m’dear.

  5. Oof, April, yes I can see why it’s on your mind – and you turn to an article labelled ‘optimism’ for some cheering up and see that! It only snuck in there because it was on the same summery slide as something optimistic so sorry about that! Flippers crossed that your crappy cysts are atypical but still benign!

  6. Hello Wren – well maybe if they have some huge anniversary (and huge injection of funds) Joint Decisions will go international one day! In the meantime I’m looking forward to Future of Health – although not sure they’re looking forward to me. Looking forward to sitting down and reading your looooong post about your looooong trip, but have to do some work first, sadly! 🙂

  7. Thank you, my Dear!

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