Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Influence of Weather on Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity

It's still a big question, but we're getting closer to an answer. People with rheumatoid arthritis often complain about the influence of weather an disease activity. There were two studies at the ACR 2013 Meeting in San Diego addressing the issue.

T. Sawada and colleagues presented the following study [Abstract #1356]: "Disease Activity Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Influenced By Seasonal Change, As Analyzed Based On a Nationwide Japanese Cohort Database." This study looked more at seasonal variations than weather and found, that "RA disease activity, as assessed both subjectively and objectively, was lowest in fall." Sorry, that won't get us any further, though one would have to take this account, when doing studies in Japan.

E. Savage and colleagues presented the second study [Abstract #1359]: "Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity Correlate With Weather Conditions?" The authors come mostly from Belfast, Northern Ireland, but one also from St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, where I had the pleasure to do some research on DRGs. I guess that the data has been collected in Belfast. 133 patients either on stable etanercept or adalimumab were recruited for this study. The authors lokked at "three weather components from the seven quantitative variables (maximum temperature, minimum temperature, hours of sunshine, mm rainfall, relative humidity, wind-speed and pressure)." Conclusion: "This study demonstrates statistically significant lower DAS-28 scores in sunny and dry conditions. A non-significant trend to higher DAS-28 scores in times of low temperature, and dull, wet and windy weather was also noted." I'm surprised to hear about sunny and dry weather in Belfast, but now we have statistically significant results that prove patients complaints.

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