Rheumatoid Arthritis Research
Research into the causes and treatments of rheumatoid arthritis is producing exciting
results and hope for the future. New information and ways of studying genetics promises
to shed more light on what causes or triggers diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Most researchers agree that rheumatoid arthritis triggers in people with a predisposition
to the disease. But what causes the trigger and what gene is "responsible" for the
predisposition? With this information there is hope that scientists can predict
a possible occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis and prevent the "trigger" from happening.
Since rheumatoid arthritis occurs more often in women than in men, research is being
done to study the hormones and how these might affect rheumatoid arthritis. Some
studies have already linked some forms of arthritis to lower estrogen levels in
women due either to drugs which lower estrogen (such as breast cancer drugs) or
to menopausal estrogen decreases. More information on the physiological differences
between men and women should prove helpful in rheumatoid arthritis research.
Rheumatoid arthritis seems to have a "genetic predisposition".
This has led researchers
to establish registries for families with rheumatoid arthritis to help them track
the disease in families. Scientists hope this leads them to new information about
which genes are involved and how to test for the predisposition.
Research into rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy is also being studied. Rheumatoid
arthritis seems to go into remission during pregnancy while other forms of arthritis
do not. Studies to determine why this happens may shed more light on the disease
and how genetic factors play a part.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of many "immune diseases" so research into the immune
system and how it works may help scientists to discover why it sometimes goes awry
and attacks "good" cells. Comparative research of immune diseases may also help
researchers to find connections that will help all kinds of immune diseases.
And of course research is ongoing in the field of medications to find new ways to
treat rheumatoid arthritis and to develop new drugs with fewer side effects.
The future for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis is no longer as bleak as it once
was. New discoveries are finding better treatments and ways to control the pain.
As research continues perhaps someday the cause will be found leading to a way to
eliminate the disease.