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Kidney disease reduces life expectancy of
lupus patients an average of 15 years

A 15-year study found that kidney (renal) disease or kidney damage reduces life expectancy of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) by 15 and 27 years, respectively, compared to the general population. The study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism reports on survival of SLE patients with kidney disease, showing that proliferative lupus nephritis leads to renal insufficiency which increases mortality. The authors suggest that better management of lupus renal involvement may improve the disease prognosis. Arthritis & Rheumatism

Sun exposure contributes to
autoimmune muscle disease in children

 Researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Intramural Research Program report that short-term ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure contributes to the development of juvenile myositis—a systemic autoimmune disease causing muscle weakness in children. The average UV index was associated with increasing odds of developing juvenile dermatomyositis across all geo-climatic regions in the U.S. Full study details appear online in the American College of Rheumatology journal, Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Cervical hip fracture risk higher
in women with lupus

Novel research shows that women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are at greater risk of cervical hip fracture. Findings published online in Arthritis Care & Research indicate that hip fracture risk was higher in female lupus patients, beginning at age 40—younger than the average age of menopause in the general population of Taiwan where the study was conducted. The study reports that age, history of stroke, use of intravenous cyclophosphamide and high doses of steroids are independent predictors of cervical hip fractures in lupus patients. Arthritis Care & Research

Employees with RA increase work
with TNF inhibitor

New research reveals that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients experience a significant decrease in work impairment from 42% to 25% six months after starting the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor, etanercept. Results published in Arthritis Care & Research report a 76% reduction in work hours lost due to RA, with projections showing that an RA patient who continues to take etanercept could gain 285 hours of work productivity over a 12-month period, equating to $3,233 to $22,533, depending upon annual income. This increased work productivity could partially or fully cover the annual cost of etanercept therapy. Arthritis Care & Research

GI involvement linked to relapse
of vasculitis in children

Polyarteritis nodosa (PAN)—a rare disease in childhood—is a systemic disorder where the immune system attacks small and medium sized arteries. In the largest single-center study of PAN in children, researchers determined that fever, muscle pain (myalgia), and skin involvement were the most common symptoms at 86%, 82%, and 88% respectively. Kidney (19%), severe gastrointestinal (GI-10%) and neurological (10%) difficulties were found in this pediatric group. Results from this 32-year, retrospective study are published in Arthritis & Rheumatism and show that the cumulative dose of the immunosuppressive drug, cyclophosphamide was associated with lower risk of relapse, while GI involvement was linked to increased relapse risk in children. Arthritis & Rheumatism

Kidney involvement and high
anti-dsDNA predict 
severe lupus flare

A new study found that kidney involvement and anti–double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) greater than 200 IU/mL were independent predictors of a moderate to severe systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) flare. According to results published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, involvement of nerves (neurologic), arteries and veins (vasculitic), low levels of B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) and a low complement 3 level were also predictive of a lupus flare. SLE flare risk was similar for patients treated with immunosuppressives, antimalarials or corticosteroids. The authors suggest close monitoring of lupus patients with disease activity or predictors of disease flare. Arthritis & Rheumatism

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