The Handoff: Your Week in Rheumatology News – 3/3/17

  • A meta-analysis of studies published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases was undertaken to examine the relationship between 5 major types of arthritis and the risk of myocardial infarction. The age- and gender-adjusted analysis found an average 50% increase in risk among all 5 types of arthritis in the study.
  • Fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis may soon have new treatment options in the Nutmeg State, according to a report in the Hartford Courant. Last month the Connecticut state Board of Physicians voted to add the 2 rheumatic diseases to the state’s medical marijuana treatment list, which has been publicly endorsed by the state’s Consumer Protection Commissioner. The last step in the process is approval by the state legislature’s Regulations Review Committee, and could take up to 1 year before final ratification.
  • A recent review published in BMC Psychiatry examined the rates of depression and anxiety among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). A meta-analysis of available evidence found that the prevalence of a major depressive disorder ranged from 24% to 39% among patients with SLE; the prevalence of anxiety was approximately 40%.
  • The deer tick population that carries the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease in humans, has increased 5-fold in the state of Michigan, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. This has corresponded to a marked increase in the number of reported Lyme disease cases in the state — there were fewer than 30 in any year between 2000 and 2004; by 2013 there were 166 cases.
  • Baricitinib has demonstrated superior benefits compared with placebo and adalimumab for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, according to the results of a phase 3, double-blind trial conducted by researchers in the United Kingdom. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed significant clinical improvement in patients with RA who took baricitinib plus methotrexate over those who received adaliumumab plus methotrexate or placebo.
  • The list of genes to examine the potential inverse relationship between schizophrenia and rheumatoid arthritis has been narrowed as the result of research by a multi-disciplinary team at the University of Pittsburgh. After in-depth computational analysis of genetic variants implicated in both diseases, the researchers said a list of 8 genes has been developed that may explain why susceptibility to one of the diseases can put individuals at lower risk for the other.
  • In the video below, Julius Birnbaum, MD, MHS, from the Johns Hopkins Jerome L. Greene Sjögren’s Syndrome Center and Erika Darrah, PhD, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Rheumatology, discuss the relationship between Sjögren’s Syndrome and neurological complications.