Non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation improves disease symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Bioelectronic medicine scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research collaborated with counterparts from Academic Medical Center at University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands to carry out a series of pilot clinical studies to assess the effect of a novel bioelectronic stimulation. These studies show that non-invasive stimulation at the external ear improves disease symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). These findings were first published today in Bioelectronic Medicine. An emerging field of science, bioelectronic medicine draws on neuroscience, focuses on molecular targets, and deploys bioengineering to tap into the nervous system to treat disease and injury without the use of pharmaceuticals.

Rheumatoid arthritis patients likely to experience cardiovascular benefits from statins

Results from a large clinical trial indicate that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are likely to experience the same level of cardiovascular benefits from statins as other individuals, without additional risks. The findings appear in Arthritis & Rheumatology, an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have an approximately 50 percent higher risk of experiencing cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke compared with the general population. By lowering LDL cholesterol, statins are known to help prevent cardiovascular events in certain high-risk individuals, but it’s unclear whether they are safe and effective for patients with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Statins safe for preventing cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis patients, study suggests

Results from a large clinical trial indicate that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are likely to experience the same level of cardiovascular benefits from statins as other individuals, without additional risks.
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Biomolecular researcher provides comprehensive profile of B cells in rheumatoid arthritis

Biomolecular researcher Navin Varadarajan has published in Arthritis & Rheumatology journal a first-of-its-kind study – a comprehensive profile of B cells in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). B cells are lymphocytes, or white blood cells, that make protein antibodies that attack a patient’s healthy proteins in patients with RA.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to conduct whole transcriptome profiling of antigen-specific B cells in any human autoimmune disorder,” said Varadarajan, whose results portray B cells not merely as autoantibody producers, but also as a source of diverse molecules that can influence proliferation, differentiation and activation of other pathogenic cell types.

Chronic diseases unconsciously limit mobility of older people

Chronic diseases are a key factor limiting the mobility of older people. Usually individuals are conscious of their condition in the case of an acute musculoskeletal disorder that causes pain or functional limitations. However, if the condition has progressed slowly, the gradual restriction of mobility often goes unnoticed.

“Healthcare professionals should pay attention to the mobility limitations caused by chronic diseases before older adults’ independent living is endangered,” says Professor Urho Kujala from the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences.

Researchers find presence of Aire gene in lymph nodes

The thymus is the organ in which T cells differentiate. T cells express various T cell receptors for reacting with various pathogenic microbes and viruses. However, the thymus generates auto-reactive T cells that react with self antigens, which must therefore be eliminated in the thymus. The mechanism for elimination of auto-reactive T cells is referred to as central tolerance. Medullary thymic epithelial cells play key roles in central tolerance. These cells express organ-specific antigens (tissue-restricted antigens). For example, insulin is produced only by pancreatic β cells and C-reactive protein is produced only in the liver. The medullary thymic epithelial cells produce and present such proteins to T cells and eliminate those T cells that react with them, i.e. auto-reactive T cells (Figure 1). Aire is a gene that regulates expression of tissue-restricted antigens in medullary thymic epithelial cells. Mutation of Aire causes decreased expression levels of tissue-restricted antigens in the thymus, and consequently, elimination of auto-reactive T cells becomes insufficient. This is thought to lead to autoimmune disease pathogenesis in multiple organs such as ACEPED. It was believed that Aire was expressed only in the thymus, but several research groups recently presented evidence that some cells in peripheral lymph nodes express Aire; peripheral lymph nodes are the organ where immune reactions take place. However, there is disagreement between these research groups on Aire-expressing cell types.

Gum disease bacterium releases toxins that may cause Alzheimer’s

Researchers have provided the strongest evidence to date that a bacterium involved in periodontitis contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and aspiration pneumonia.

P. gingivalis has been linked to Alzheimer's in several research papersMaxx Studio | Shutterstock

The research, which was presented yesterday at the annual meeting Experimental Biology in Orlando, Florida, showed how Porphyromonas gingivalis migrates from the oral cavity to the brain and other tissues.

Study investigator Professor Jan Potempa (University of Louisville School of Dentistry) says the findings underscore the importance of good oral hygiene in decreasing the risk of serious disease.

Gum bacteria implicated in Alzheimer’s and other diseases

Researchers are reporting new findings on how bacteria involved in gum disease can travel throughout the body, exuding toxins connected with Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and aspiration pneumonia. They detected evidence of the bacteria in brain samples from people with Alzheimer’s and used mice to show that the bacterium can find its way from the mouth to the brain.
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