A new autoinflammatory disease called CRIA syndrome discovered

Over the last 20 years, three families have been unknowingly linked to one another by an unknown illness. Researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and other organizations have now identified the cause of the illness, a new disease called CRIA syndrome. The results of their work were published in the journal Nature.

Discovering a new disease

NHGRI scientific director Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of auto-inflammatory diseases, and his team, had never seen a condition like this one. Symptoms include fevers, swollen lymph nodes, severe abdominal pain, gastrointestinal problems, headaches and, in some cases, abnormally enlarged spleen and liver.

Study: Certain steps can improve pregnancy outcomes in women with rheumatoid arthritis

Jan 8 2020

For women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), taking certain steps to ensure that they have a healthy pregnancy leads to a reduced risk of complicated birth or miscarriage, according to a study in Arthritis Care & Research.

The study included 443 women with RA and 6,097 women in the general population. In the RA population, patients who followed an “ideal clinical pathway” that included certain medical tests, therapies, and prenatal follow-up had a 40% lower risk of complicated birth or miscarriage compared with those who did not.

Certain cancer drugs could be used in the future to treat COPD

New research has shown the potential for clinically available cancer treatments to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Scientists from the University of Sheffield have been investigating the effect of drugs used to treat a variety of cancers on this inflammatory response; the main driver of lung damage in people living with COPD.

COPD slowly develops over many years – often patients are not aware they have it until their 40s or 50s – and for the 1.2 million people in the UK who have been diagnosed, it makes breathing progressively more difficult.

What would happen if the ACA went away?

Any day now, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans could rule the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

At least it seemed that two of the three appeals court judges were leaning that way during oral arguments in the case, State of Texas v. USA, in July.

Trump administration health officials have said they will continue to enforce the health law pending a final ruling from the Supreme Court. But that is not a guarantee that President Donald Trump won’t change his mind. That’s what he did in 2017 in canceling some payments to health insurers.

UAB seminar on the extraordinary science of the immune system

“The human immune system makes my head explode,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Matt Richtel recently told a University of Alabama at Birmingham freshman seminar on immunology. “This is by far the hardest subject I have ever had to explore.”

Richtel, a longtime New York Times reporter, was explaining why he wrote his general interest book “An Elegant Defense -; The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System,” which the class was reading.

Richtel’s curiosity began when his boyhood buddy Jason Greenstein, “the best kind of jock,” got cancer in his 40s.

Skip the sweet treats to avoid holiday blues, study suggests

If you’re prone to depression, this holiday season you might want to say “bah humbug” to offers of sugar plum pudding, caramel corn and chocolate babka.

A new study from a team of clinical psychologists at the University of Kansas suggests eating added sugars – common in so many holiday foods – can trigger metabolic, inflammatory and neurobiological processes tied to depressive illness. The work is published in the journal Medical Hypotheses.

Coupled with dwindling light in wintertime and corresponding changes in sleep patterns, high sugar consumption could result in a “perfect storm” that adversely affects mental health, according to the researchers.

Dendritic cells could lead to better treatments for persistent infections, cancer

Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease plague tens of millions of Americans and are the result of the body’s immune system, whose role is to fight against disease-causing pathogens, turning against itself.

Thankfully, several new drugs designed to fight these diseases are now available. The downside–the drugs, a class of biologics called TNF inhibitors, carry a risk of serious infections and even cancer.

A research team led by Michigan Medicine may have discovered why. Their study, which appears in the journal Science Advances, reveals a previously unknown function of a specific type of immune cell called dendritic cells.

UCLA scientists discover reason for higher rates of autoimmune disease in women than men

UCLA scientists have discovered one reason why autoimmune diseases are more prevalent in women than in men. While males inherit their mother’s X chromosome and father’s Y chromosome, females inherit X chromosomes from both parents. New research, which shows differences in how each of those X chromosomes is regulated, suggests that the X chromosome that females get from their father may help to explain their more active immune system.

It’s been known for many years that women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than men are. Figuring out why can help us develop new drugs to treat these autoimmune diseases.”

A major step toward preventing GvHD in patients receiving bone marrow transplants

A drug used for rheumatoid arthritis has moved a step closer to FDA approval for a desperately needed new use. The drug, abatacept, has gained FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for preventing acute, severe graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in patients receiving bone marrow transplants. That could help fast-track the drug to the clinic.

If we are lucky and we get FDA approval, this will be the first agent approved for preventing acute GvHD. It could make bone marrow transplant safer for many more people, especially people who don’t have fully matched donors.”