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Depression, inflammation flares up pain in Arthritis
WASHINGTON, AUG 5 (IANS):
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Published on 6 Aug. 2009 1:41 AM IST
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Scientists have revealed that depression and inflammation can increase the likelihood of pain in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a condition in which patients experience stiffness, swelling, pain and a deterioration in their joints. Researchers at Nagoya City University and Nagoya University Graduate Schools of Medicine, Japan studied the link between levels of depression symptoms and pain. The research team, led by Masayo Kojima, evaluated 218 RA patients. Blood samples from participants were taken to measure their CRP levels. CRP is a plasma protein that is produced by the liver and rises during incidents of acute inflammation in RA. Inflammation is a basic way in which the body reacts to infection, irritation etc. According to this study, inflammation and depression each independently increased the likelihood of severe pain. The combined effects of high CRP levels and depression predicted severe pain even more strongly. “Results of our research demonstrate the potential for clinicians to improve pain control by addressing their patients’ psychological symptoms in addition to conducting anti-inflammation therapy,” stated Dr. Kojima. A second study by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada further explored depression in spouses of people with RA. They found that higher levels of spouse depression predicted worse disease progression for Rheumatoid arthritis patients over a one-year period. Anita DeLongis and colleagues from the University of British Columbia examined the role of spouse mood in the disability and disease course of 133 RA patients. “Our findings highlight the key role played by the spouse in the course of the disease for individuals with RA, and point to the importance of including the spouse in clinical interventions,” the authors concluded. Both studies were published in the August issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

 
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