CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSEN
283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8032; fax (319) 335-8034
UI researchers studying rheumatoid arthritis in older women
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa College of Medicine researchers
hope to learn more about rheumatoid arthritis in older women, a chronic
form of joint inflammation that occurs more commonly in women than in men.
With the help of a three-year, $225,000 grant from the Arthritis Foundation,
UI researchers, led by Drs. Kenneth Saag, assistant professor of internal
medicine, and James Cerhan, assistant professor of preventive medicine
and environmental health, will confirm cases of elderly-onset (occurring
after age 60) rheumatoid arthritis among participants in the Iowa Women's
Health Study, an ongoing population-based study of more than 41,000 older
"Many individuals with elderly-onset rheumatoid arthritis have
overlapping features with another type of inflammation called polymyalgia
rheumatica," Saag says. "In women confirmed to have elderly-onset
rheumatoid arthritis, we will examine risk factors that may be associated
with the development of this condition with and without polymyalgia rheumatica."
These factors would include rural residence, diet, prior blood transfusions,
the use of estrogens, obesity and cigarette smoking.
Other studies have not addressed important risk factors for the development
of arthritis in older women, and it is unknown whether these factors differ
between arthritis and polymyalgia rheumatica, Saag notes. "Our study
of older women will provide unique data in the area of rheumatoid arthritis
and may provide insight into the causes of this disease," he says.
"This could lead to new prevention strategies."