Early Treatment Equals Better Results for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Treating rheumatoid arthritis early may make for better outcomes, a new study suggests.

Patients who were treated within six months of developing the first signs of the autoimmune disease did better in the long run and were less likely to suffer early death, British researchers found.

The findings stem from an analysis of more than 600 patients who were initially diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) between 1990 and 1994. They were tracked for over 20 years.

Over the study time frame, investigators assessed key symptoms of RA, such as swollen and/or tender joints, and indications of disability. All deaths were also noted.

The research team found that patients who started treatment for RA within the first half-year after the first symptoms surfaced tended to have no greater levels of disability over a 20-year period than patients who required no treatment.

And while roughly 44 percent of the patients died during the study period, the team observed that early treatment translated into a notably lower mortality risk.

The findings were published online in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.

“This research emphasizes the importance of early treatment and the long-term benefits of early treatment,” study author Dr. Suzanne Verstappen, from the University of Manchester, said in a journal news release.

“In the early 1990s,” she added, “when this study started, only 30 percent of patients received early treatment, but this number has increased significantly in the last decade.

“It’s expected that in the next 10 years, newly diagnosed patients will have a better future with respect to functional ability, less severe disease activity and improved quality of life,” Verstappen said.

Source: HealthDay

Today’s Comic

Black Bean Cheese Cake

The price for a box of 4 cakes is 1,600 yen in Japan.

A Wheat-filled Sweet Treat with Dried Fruits


1/3 cup bulgur wheat
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1/4 cup dried prune, seeded and pureed
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest


  1. In a large bowl, stir together the bulgur wheat and water. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Into a medium bowl, sift together the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, and cinnamon.
  4. To the bulgur mixture, add the buttermilk, honey, egg, prune puree, and apricots and beat until blended.
  5. Stir in the combined dry ingredients. Spread in the prepared pan.
  6. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
  7. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before serving. Top with the lemon zest.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Mayo Clinic

In Pictures: Rose Gelato

Walk Your Way to Better Brain Health?

Just put one foot in front of the other and you’ll boost your brain at the same time.

That’s the conclusion of a small study that found the impact of a foot while walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that increases blood supply to the brain.

“New data now strongly suggest that brain blood flow is very dynamic,” said researcher Ernest Greene and his colleagues at New Mexico Highlands University.

Activities such as bicycling, walking and running may optimize brain function and overall sense of well-being during exercise, the researchers said.

Blood supply to the brain was once considered an involuntary action that wasn’t affected by exercise or changes in blood pressure. Previous research has shown, however, that the foot’s impact while running is associated with backward-flowing waves in the arteries that help regulate circulation to the brain.

These waves are in sync with the runner’s heart rate and stride, the study authors explained.

For the new study, scientists examined the effects of walking, which involves a lighter foot impact than running.

Using ultrasound technology, they measured the carotid-artery diameter and blood velocity waves of 12 healthy young adults to calculate the blood flow to their brains as they walked at a steady pace.

The participants were also assessed at rest.

The study showed that walking results in a significant increase in blood flow to the brain. The boost in blood flow isn’t as dramatic as with running, but it’s more notable than that seen with biking, which doesn’t involve any foot impact, the study authors said.

“What is surprising is that it took so long for us to finally measure these obvious hydraulic effects on cerebral blood flow,” said Greene, the study’s first author.

“There is an optimizing rhythm between brain blood flow and ambulating [walking]. Stride rates and their foot impacts are within the range of our normal heart rates [about 120/minute] when we are briskly moving along,” Greene said in a news release from the American Physiological Society.

The study’s findings were expected to be presented at the society’s annual meeting, in Chicago. Results of studies presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Source: HealthDay