Arizona Arthritis Center Presents Record Number of Papers at Annual Meeting

Arizona Arthritis Center Presents Record Number of Papers at Annual Meeting.

The Arizona Arthritis Center at the University of Arizona College of Medicine had a record number of research papers accepted for presentation at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 17-21. David Yocum, MD, director of the Arizona Arthritis Center, said, "The more than 20 presentations at this year's meeting are evidence of many fertile areas for future research."

Following is a brief description of some of the studies spotlighted in San Antonio:

  • The Safety and Efficacy of Infliximab in RA: 1-year Results of a Large, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial in Patients with Various Co-morbidities and Background Treatments as Encountered in Clinical Practice
    In a multinational double-blind study, researchers evaluated the risk of serious infection associated with the antirheumatic drug, infliximab, plus methotrexate. Their findings show that, when used properly, infliximab poses no more serious risk of infections than does methotrexate alone. For more information, please contact David Yocum, MD, at (520) 626-6399.
  • Establishment of an Early Arthritis Clinic in the United States: Challenges and Patient Characteristics
    This study documents the establishment of an early arthritis clinic to evaluate patients with recent-onset joint pain. The data suggest that diagnosing patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in an early arthritis clinic will be more successful in getting them to see a rheumatologist than training primary care physicians how to diagnose RA and hoping that they refer the patient. For more information, please contact David Yocum, MD, at (520) 626-6399.
  • Use of Portable In-Office Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Assessing Hands and Feet Erosions in Patients with Early Rheumatoid Arthritis
    The first study using a portable in-office MRI system to compare feet and hands in patients with early RA, this demonstrates the superiority of the in-office MRI to standard X-ray in diagnosing erosions in early-RA patients. For more information, please contact David Yocum, MD, at (520) 626-6399.
  • Mutuality Predicts Pain and Fatigue Six Months Later for Women with Rheumatoid Arthritis
    Examining the linkage of spouse/partner "mutuality," defined as reciprocated interest in sharing cognitive and emotional experiences, with pain and fatigue for women patients with RA, researchers suggest that mutuality in couple communications appears to be a protective factor against pain and fatigue. Mutuality may be a prognostic marker for women's RA outcomes and, ultimately, a target for behavioral treatments. For more information, please contact Shelley Kasle, (520) 626-9541.
  • Development of a Self-Management Program for Early Onset Osteoarthritis Patients This study was designed to develop a self-management intervention targeting the needs of people with early osteoarthritis of the knee (KOA). It centered on the KNEE Study, a two-year randomized trial evaluating the effectiveness of self-management and physical training on physical function in people with KOA. Adapted from a prior program for the general arthritis population, the intervention included self-management principles, lecture sessions, practice exercises and take-home assignments. Strategies for increasing physical activity, nutritional guidelines and stress management were built upon throughout the 12-session program. Reports from the final session indicate that the self-management intervention met participants' expectations and improved their perceived ability to manage their arthritis. For more information, please contact Michelle Cornett, RN, (520) 626-5040.
  • Determinants of Physical Activity in Early Osteoarthritis/ Social Support in Arthritis: Validity of a Short Version of Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey (MOS-SSS)/ Determinants of Medication Compliance in Patients with Osteoarthritis
    These three studies all look at factors that may affect patients' management of their arthritis. In the first, potential predictors of physical activity were evaluated in subjects recruited for participation in the KNEE Study (see above). It was found that a substantial proportion of variance in physical activity among subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee can be explained by health status and psychosocial variables, with psychosocial variables contributing the most. Psychosocial variables in this study include self-efficacy, active coping and social support.

A separate study, focused on participants in a community-based, four-week program that included both excercise and education, evaluated the impact of social support on patient outcomes. It also tested a short, four-item version of the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey (MOS-SSS). Researchers performed a cross-validation of the short form MOS-SSS on a second sample, subjects recruited for the KNEE Study. Their conclusions point to social support as a relevant construct that is related with health status and other psychological variables in subjects with arthritis, and they found the short form MOS-SSS valid and reliable in these samples of subjects with arthritis.

In a third study, subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee provided demographic, psychosocial and health-status data for researchers to use in assessing the determinants of medication-taking behavior and medication compliance. Medication-taking behavior or medication compliance also was evaluated. Researchers found that compliance of medications in patients with osteoarthritis is related with a negative mental health profile and not with a demographic profile or disease status.