Latest News » New study links rheumatoid arthritis to X chromosome

New study shows link between female gene and arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects 1.3 million Americans, according to the U.S. Arthritis Foundation. While the better known osteoarthritis is typically a result of general wear and tear on our joints, this form of the disease specifically targets the fluid that surround our joints, and is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic elements.

To better treat the pain and inflammation that characterize this disorder – which typically sets in between the age of 30 and 60 years old – scientists have conducted considerable research to identify the genes that contribute to its development. According to a press release from Arthritis Research UK, a non-profit organization that funds arthritis research, scientists from the group's facility at the University of Manchester have pinpointed 14 new genes that may cause rheumatoid arthritis to develop. These findings will be added to 32 other genetic variables that the group has identified. However, the new discoveries have one component in common – they are all linked to the X chromosome.

"This could provide a useful clue in helping us to understand why rheumatoid arthritis is three times more likely to occur in women," medical director Professor Alan Silman said of the results in a group press release.

The source explains that existing medications for the physical debilitating disorder currently target genes known to play a role in its onset, but a growing knowledge of the contributing factors could significantly expand the range and effectiveness of treatments.

Though the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not yet known, certain minerals like calcium and magnesium may potentially reduce your risk of developing such bone-related conditions that typically set in as you grow older. In addition, an international study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research this April showed that curcumin supplements may be an effective way to manage pain caused by this autoimmune condition.

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