LRI Summarizes Presentations at ACR Offering Insights into Living with Lupus

Several studies presented at the American College of Rheumatology meeting this week highlighted areas for patients and healthcare professionals to consider in recognizing and managing lupus.

Pregnancy
Neonatal lupus expert Dr. Jill P. Buyon of New York University presented results showing that pregnancy is safe for most women with lupus. Learn more from Dr. Buyon in a free one-hour webinar offered by the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation November 30, 2011 12:30 PM EST. Register online.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine
GARDASIL®, the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, is effective and safe in patients with inactive SLE, according to a study conducted by Hong Kong researchers. GARDASIL is approved throughout the world to protect against specific strains of the human papillomavirus, which is associated with cervical cancer and genital warts. Findings also showed that the vaccine does not trigger lupus flares.

Pain                              
Research conducted at Duke University Medical Center, suggests that lupus patients who are not trained in pain control experience a higher level of physical symptoms. Also, having an extremely negative attitude towards pain was related to mood and memory problems.  Researchers concluded that pain coping skills training, which has been shown to help in other rheumatological conditions, may similarly help improve physical and psychological symptoms for lupus patients.

Memory
A study conducted at Duke University Medical Center, NC and Rush University Medical Center, IL found that most memory complaints were not related with measurable disease activity, but were more closely linked to pain and psychological distress. Investigators concluded that future research might explore how helping patients cope with memory problems could improve quality of life, physical symptoms, and psychological distress.

Depression
Depression among SLE patients is almost twice as high as the general population according to a European study conducted by researchers in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Depression was not linked to severity of lupus. Additionally, findings showed that the number of depressed SLE patients treated with anti-depressant medication is very low and suggest that depressed SLE patients are not adequately recognized or treated for depression. Investigators suggested that healthcare professionals look out for depression when treating lupus.

Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is an effective marker of potential kidney damage and overall disease activity in lupus, according to collaborative work at Tuen Mun Hospital, Hong Kong and Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus.

Smoking
University of Chicago researchers came to the surprising conclusion that while smoking undeniably has a harmful effect for people with most autoimmune diseases as well as the general public, for lupus patients, smoking may actually have some beneficial effects. Data suggested that smoking may suppress autoantibody production and delay age of onset in patients with SLE, similar to the protective effects seen in ulcerative colitis.