As rheumatology evolves, it can be challenging to stay current with the latest research and treatments. The Handoff is a weekly roundup of the most important news and updates in rheumatic diseases. Keep your finger on the pulse of rheumatology with The Handoff.

–Howard Bauchner, MD, Editor in Chief of JAMA, penned an editorial focused on health care in the US. He asks: is it a right or a privilege?

–A new study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found that the prevalence and severity of coronary atherosclerosis, quantified by coronary computed tomography angiography, was increased in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

–Costs associated with lower extremity joint replacements were recently examined. Bundled payment systems appeared to significantly reduce Medicare costs.

–Findings from the Schepens Eye Research Institute at Massachusetts Eye and Ear have pinpointed interleukin (IL)-7 and IL-15 as 2 factors responsible for the “chronic, lifelong nature” of autoimmune disorders, according to a study published in Autoimmunity.

–High fiber diets trigger gut microorganisms to produce short chain fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation associated with gout, according to the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

–A population-based study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) found that patients diagnosed before 2000 experienced increased mortality within the first 5 years.

–Are milestone-based ratings the way to go to evaluate medical residents in training? One cross-sectional study suggests that it might be.

–A Cochrane Review has found that yoga may in fact improve symptoms of lower back pain. However, the investigators caution that more studies over a  longer time period are needed. 

–Data show that biologics may help with comorbid cardiovascular disease conditions in RA, but more studies are needed to clarify their impact on depression, gastrointestinal disease, and osteoporosis.

–The 115th US Congress is wasting no time considering reforms to the outgoing president’s signature healthcare legislation. The American College of Physicians has urged congress to spare the Affordable Care Act. 

–Pooled results examine the incidence of antidrug antibody development after both intravenous and subcutaneously administered tocilizumab for RA.

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