Ankylose This! Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Omega-3 fatty acids and ankylosing spondylitis

We've all been told, I think, about the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but now there's a clinical study about their efficacy against ankylosing spondylitis (see also). It turns out that while relatively low doses of omega-3 accomplished little, disease activity was reduced among those taking high doses. (High and low doses mean 4.55 g and 1.95 g per day, respectively. The omega-3 doses came from marine sources; I wonder if it matters.)

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Anti-TNF treatments and ankylosis

Anti-TNF therapy has been shown to do a good job reducing inflammation, but joint inflammation is only one aspect of our disease. What about ankylosis -- joint fusion? A recent study using tests on lab mice suggests that anti-TNF treatments aren't as effective:

Their findings [...] cast doubts on the feasibility of preventing joint and spine ankylosis with anti-TNF strategies while shedding light on the process of SpA. [...]

For the mice with induced arthritis, etanercept had a significant impact on disease severity, inhibiting inflammation and cartilage and bone destruction. For the mice with spontaneous arthritis, however, etanercept proved no more effective than placebo at inhibiting new cartilage or bone formation or ankylosis. [...]

"Our observations strengthen our hypothesis that new bone formation in SpA is clinically relevant and largely independent of inflammation," Dr. Luyten states. "Long-term results from clinical trials are required to corroborate this hypothesis in patients with SpA," he acknowledges, "and to define whether the process of ankylosis should become a separate therapeutic target."

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Arthritis self-management course in Vancouver

Two women from the Greater Vancouver area, one of whom has ankylosing spondylitis, are organizing a six-week arthritis self-management course, the North Shore Outlook reports.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Playing in pain, part 7

Another profile of a high school athlete struggling with ankylosing spondylitis: this time it's Hermiston, Oregon basketball player Krieg Mueller, who was diagnosed a year and a half ago and who isn't responding to treatment. (The article doesn't specify which treatment; curiously, it gives his parents' phone number if anyone has any advice -- I imagine they will shortly be inundated with every quack treatment out there, from herbal remedies to the no-starch diet, when he probably simply needs to try a different NSAID or biologic.)

I've been keeping track of news stories that turn young athletes struggling with AS into sources of inspiration for the healthy. Previous entries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ian Woosnam, OBE

Pro golfer (and AS sufferer) Ian Woosnam has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours "for services to Sport."

Previously: Ian Woosnam and ankylosing spondylitis; Woosnam, on anti-TNF therapy, is one stroke off the lead.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Chris Small denied financial assistance by snooker body

The Daily Record reports that snooker player and ankylosing spondylitis sufferer Chris Small, who was forced to retire because of his disease and who was the beneficiary of a benefit auction last year, has been turned down by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association's benevolent fund, a fund designed to provide financial assistance to players who have fallen on hard times. The article quote former BBC commentator Clive Everton: "He has his whole life to face and has no means of earning a living. If Chris Small isn't worthy of a grant, who is?" The fund has been associated with questionable payouts in the past, according to the article.

Previously: Chris Small; Chris Small update; Chris Small benefit auction; Chris Small profile.

Update, Jan. 8: More from the Edinburgh Evening News.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Antonio de Figueiredo (1929-2006)

Last month the Guardian ran an obituary of Antonio de Figueiredo, a journalist and activist who campaigned for the liberation of Portugal's African colonies in the 1960s and 1970s -- and who also suffered from ankylosing spondylitis:

Disabled as a young man by ankylosing spondylitis, a rare and incurable disease of the spine, de Figueiredo was an unmistakable figure, whose intensity of stare gained extra authority as it emanated from a stooping figure and upturned face. But he never took himself too seriously, lapsing into jokes and anecdotes, often at his own expense. His physical courage was as remarkable as his passionate determination to effect change.

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