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Concept: Arthritis


A new wave of portable biosensors allows frequent measurement of health-related physiology. We investigated the use of these devices to monitor human physiological changes during various activities and their role in managing health and diagnosing and analyzing disease. By recording over 250,000 daily measurements for up to 43 individuals, we found personalized circadian differences in physiological parameters, replicating previous physiological findings. Interestingly, we found striking changes in particular environments, such as airline flights (decreased peripheral capillary oxygen saturation [SpO2] and increased radiation exposure). These events are associated with physiological macro-phenotypes such as fatigue, providing a strong association between reduced pressure/oxygen and fatigue on high-altitude flights. Importantly, we combined biosensor information with frequent medical measurements and made two important observations: First, wearable devices were useful in identification of early signs of Lyme disease and inflammatory responses; we used this information to develop a personalized, activity-based normalization framework to identify abnormal physiological signals from longitudinal data for facile disease detection. Second, wearables distinguish physiological differences between insulin-sensitive and -resistant individuals. Overall, these results indicate that portable biosensors provide useful information for monitoring personal activities and physiology and are likely to play an important role in managing health and enabling affordable health care access to groups traditionally limited by socioeconomic class or remote geography.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Epidemiology, Cancer, Physiology, Sociology, Arthritis, Ibn al-Nafis


Background Whether arthroscopic partial meniscectomy for symptomatic patients with a meniscal tear and knee osteoarthritis results in better functional outcomes than nonoperative therapy is uncertain. Methods We conducted a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial involving symptomatic patients 45 years of age or older with a meniscal tear and evidence of mild-to-moderate osteoarthritis on imaging. We randomly assigned 351 patients to surgery and postoperative physical therapy or to a standardized physical-therapy regimen (with the option to cross over to surgery at the discretion of the patient and surgeon). The patients were evaluated at 6 and 12 months. The primary outcome was the difference between the groups with respect to the change in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) physical-function score (ranging from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more severe symptoms) 6 months after randomization. Results In the intention-to-treat analysis, the mean improvement in the WOMAC score after 6 months was 20.9 points (95% confidence interval [CI], 17.9 to 23.9) in the surgical group and 18.5 (95% CI, 15.6 to 21.5) in the physical-therapy group (mean difference, 2.4 points; 95% CI, -1.8 to 6.5). At 6 months, 51 active participants in the study who were assigned to physical therapy alone (30%) had undergone surgery, and 9 patients assigned to surgery (6%) had not undergone surgery. The results at 12 months were similar to those at 6 months. The frequency of adverse events did not differ significantly between the groups. Conclusions In the intention-to-treat analysis, we did not find significant differences between the study groups in functional improvement 6 months after randomization; however, 30% of the patients who were assigned to physical therapy alone underwent surgery within 6 months. (Funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; METEOR number, NCT00597012 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Hospital, Randomized controlled trial, Surgery, Physician, Randomness, Arthritis, Randomization


BACKGROUND: Musculoskeletal conditions (MSCs) are widely prevalent in present-day society, with resultant high healthcare costs and substantial negative effects on patient health and quality of life. The main aim of this overview was to synthesize evidence from systematic reviews on the effects of exercise therapy (ET) on pain and physical function for patients with MSCs. In addition, the evidence for the effect of ET on disease pathogenesis, and whether particular components of exercise programs are associated with the size of the treatment effects, was also explored. METHODS: We included four common conditions: fibromyalgia (FM), low back pain (LBP), neck pain (NP), and shoulder pain (SP), and four specific musculoskeletal diseases: osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and osteoporosis (OP). We first included Cochrane reviews with the most recent update being January 2007 or later, and then searched for non-Cochrane reviews published after this date. Pain and physical functioning were selected as primary outcomes. RESULTS: We identified 9 reviews, comprising a total of 224 trials and 24,059 patients. In addition, one review addressing the effect of exercise on pathogenesis was included. Overall, we found solid evidence supporting ET in the management of MSCs, but there were substantial differences in the level of research evidence between the included diagnostic groups. The standardized mean differences for knee OA, LBP, FM, and SP varied between 0.30 and 0.65 and were significantly in favor of exercise for both pain and function. For NP, hip OA, RA, and AS, the effect estimates were generally smaller and not always significant. There was little or no evidence that ET can influence disease pathogenesis. The only exception was for osteoporosis, where there was evidence that ET increases bone mineral density in postmenopausal women, but no significant effects were found for clinically relevant outcomes (fractures). For LBP and knee OA, there was evidence suggesting that the treatment effect increases with the number of exercise sessions. CONCLUSIONS: There is empirical evidence that ET has beneficial clinical effects for most MSCs. Except for osteoporosis, there seems to be a gap in the understanding of the ways in which ET influences disease mechanisms.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Back pain, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Acupuncture, Arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Musculoskeletal disorders


BACKGROUND: Foot deformities and related problems of the forefoot are very common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The laxity of the medial cuneometatarsal joint and its synovitis are important factors in the development of forefoot deformity. The impaired joint causes the first metatarsal bone to become unstable in the frontal and sagittal planes. In this retrospective study we evaluated data of patients with rheumatoid arthritis who underwent Lapidus procedure. We evaluated the role of the instability in a group of patients, focusing mainly on the clinical symptoms and X-ray signs of the instability. METHODS: The study group included 125 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The indications of the Lapidus procedure were a hallux valgus deformity greater than 15 degrees and varus deformity of the first metatarsal bone with the intermetatarsal angle greater than 15 degrees on anterio-posterior weight-bearing X-ray. RESULTS: Data of 143 Lapidus procedures of 125 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, who underwent surgery between 2004 and 2010 was evaluated. Signs and symptoms of the first metatarsal bone instability was found in 92 feet (64.3 %) in our group. The AOFAS score was 48.6 before and 87.6 six months after the foot reconstruction. Nonunion of the medial cuneometatarsal joint arthrodesis on X-rays occurred in seven feet (4.9 %). CONCLUSION: The Lapidus procedure provides the possibility to correct the first metatarsal bone varus position and its instability, as well as providing the possibility to achieve a painless foot for walking. We recommend using the procedure as a preventive surgery in poorly symptomatic patients with rheumatoid arthritis in case of the first metatarsal bone hypermobility.

Concepts: Foot, Bunion, Varus deformity, Rheumatoid arthritis, Arthritis, Skeletal disorders, Valgus deformity, Tarsus


Among 101 feet that presented with symptoms and signs similar to Morton’s neuroma, intermetatarsal rheumatoid nodules were found in fiveĀ feet (three patients). Two patients had bilateral involvement. Histology of the excised tissue showed the presence of a rheumatoid nodule and Morton’s neuroma in fourĀ feet and a rheumatoid nodule with unremarkable nerve bundles in one. A rheumatoid nodule can coexist with Morton’s neuroma, as seen in our patients, and the presentation is often similar to that of a Morton’s neuroma. Our patients were rendered asymptomatic with surgical treatment and went on to have appropriate management of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid nodule should be considered in the differential diagnosis of Morton’s neuroma in not only rheumatoid arthritis patients but also asymptomatic patients who have never been tested for rheumatoid antibodies.

Concepts: Medical terms, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Histopathology, Greek loanwords, Arthritis, Morton's neuroma, Rheumatoid nodule


BACKGROUND: Variations in the treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) may impact on quality of care. The objective of this study was to identify and compare treatment approaches for JIA in two health care systems. METHODS: Paediatric rheumatologists in Canada (n=58) and Germany/Austria (n=172) were surveyed by email, using case-based vignettes for oligoarticular and seronegative polyarticular JIA. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics; responses were compared using univariate analysis. RESULTS: Total response rate was 63%. Physicians were comparable by age, level of training and duration of practice, with more Canadians based in academic centres. For initial treatment of oligoarthritis, only approximately half of physicians in both groups used intra-articular steroids. German physicians were more likely to institute DMARD treatment in oligoarthritis refractory to NSAID (p<0.001). Canadian physicians were more likely to switch to a different DMARD rather than a biologic agent in polyarthritis refractory to initial DMARD therapy. For oligoarthritis and polyarthritis, respectively, 86% and 90% of German physicians preferred regular physiotherapy over home exercise, compared to 14% and 15% in Canada. Except for a Canadian preference for naproxen in oligoarthritis, no significant differences were found for NSAID, intra-articular steroid preparations, initial DMARD and initial biologic treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment of oligo- and polyarticular JIA with DMARD is mostly uniform, with availability and funding obviously influencing physician choice. Usage of intra-articular steroids is variable within physician groups. Physiotherapy has a fundamentally different role in the two health care systems.

Concepts: Medicine, Rheumatoid arthritis, Physician, Pediatrics, Arthritis, Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Canada, Preference


Objective. RA and axial SpA have an important impact on patients' lives. The objective of this study was to explore the reporting of different aspects of that impact in publications, with a focus on differences between diseases and over time.Methods. A systematic literature review retrieved all articles reporting on the life impact of RA or axial radiographic SpA in adults published within the last 10 years and issued from European research. The data were classified into physical impact (including pain, functional assessment and fatigue), psychological impact (including psychological distress and coping) and social impact (including relationships, family and social life). The number of articles published over time was analysed by linear regression.Results. In all, 1352 abstracts were screened and 149 publications (40 056 patients) were analysed: 129 articles (86.5%) concerned RA and 16 (10.7%) concerned axial SpA. The mean number of articles reporting on the physical aspects of impact was 11.4 (s.d. 4.8) per 2-year period, but increased more than 2-fold (from 7 articles in 2001-3 to 15 in 2010-11), in particular due to recent publications on fatigue, whereas the number of articles on psychological aspects [mean 12.4 (s.d. 4.0)] decreased markedly after 2006. Publications reporting on social aspects [mean 8.2 (s.d. 4.1)] remained globally stable.Conclusion. In the era of biologics, there is an interest in the patient-perceived life impact of RA and axial SpA in the European literature, but the impact of RA has been the subject of greater exploration. There are clearly trends over time in the reporting of impact.

Concepts: Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Academic publishing, Subject, Arithmetic mean, Arthritis, Publishing, Psoriatic arthritis


To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of tocilizumab (TCZ) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in clinical practice, establishing the optimized regimen and switching from intravenous (IV) to subcutaneous (SC) therapy.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Osteoarthritis, Arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis


Background The role of bracing in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis who are at risk for curve progression and eventual surgery is controversial. Methods We conducted a multicenter study that included patients with typical indications for bracing due to their age, skeletal immaturity, and degree of scoliosis. Both a randomized cohort and a preference cohort were enrolled. Of 242 patients included in the analysis, 116 were randomly assigned to bracing or observation, and 126 chose between bracing and observation. Patients in the bracing group were instructed to wear the brace at least 18 hours per day. The primary outcomes were curve progression to 50 degrees or more (treatment failure) and skeletal maturity without this degree of curve progression (treatment success). Results The trial was stopped early owing to the efficacy of bracing. In an analysis that included both the randomized and preference cohorts, the rate of treatment success was 72% after bracing, as compared with 48% after observation (propensity-score-adjusted odds ratio for treatment success, 1.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08 to 3.46). In the intention-to-treat analysis, the rate of treatment success was 75% among patients randomly assigned to bracing, as compared with 42% among those randomly assigned to observation (odds ratio, 4.11; 95% CI, 1.85 to 9.16). There was a significant positive association between hours of brace wear and rate of treatment success (P<0.001). Conclusions Bracing significantly decreased the progression of high-risk curves to the threshold for surgery in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The benefit increased with longer hours of brace wear. (Funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and others; BRAIST number, NCT00448448 .).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Randomized controlled trial, Scoliosis, Randomness, Arthritis, The Adolescents, Statistical terminology, Odds


There is currently no blood-based test for detection of early-stage osteoarthritis (OA) and the anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibody test for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has relatively low sensitivity for early-stage disease. Morbidity in arthritis could be markedly decreased if early-stage arthritis could be routinely detected and classified by clinical chemistry test. We hypothesised that damage to proteins of the joint by oxidation, nitration and glycation, and with signatures released in plasma as oxidized, nitrated and glycated amino acids may facilitate early-stage diagnosis and typing of arthritis.

Concepts: Antibody, Protein, Amino acid, Acid, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Nitrogen, Arthritis