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European League Against Rheumatism, June 14-17

Last Updated: June 19, 2017.

The European League Against Rheumatism 2017 Annual European Congress of Rheumatology

The annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism was held from June 14 to 17 in Madrid and attracted approximately 15,000 participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in rheumatology. The conference highlighted recent advances in the prevention, detection, and treatment of rheumatic diseases.

In one study, Noirin Nealon Lennox, of Ulster University in Northern Ireland, and colleagues found that an acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) intervention carried out in a rheumatology service by a multidisciplinary team offered statistically significant results for the reduction of anxiety and depression and the increase of self-efficacy.

"This study aimed to assess the effects of an eight-week, group-based ACT program which was run routinely in rheumatology services in Ireland," Lennox said. "Patients were referred for the program by three consultant rheumatologists and attended for multidisciplinary treatment one day per week from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Measures of self-efficacy as well as depression and anxiety, using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, were taken at three time points: at assessment, on the final day of the program, and six months after the program was completed."

In addition, the investigators used the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire (CPAQ) to measure pain acceptance and activity engagement. The study was based on 138 participant outcomes from 25 pain rehabilitation programs that were completed over a period of five years.

"Results showed a statistically significant reduction in anxiety and depression at the end of the program. What is particularly interesting is that these benefits persisted beyond completion of the program, with gains continuing to be made up to six months after the patients had completed the program," Lennox said. "The same was true for self-efficacy, with gains continuing to be made after the end of the program. Activity engagement and pain willingness as measured by the CPAQ showed statistically significant improvements also, with large effect sizes observed at the six-month time point."

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In another study, Asta Linauskas, M.D., of the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues found that overweight and obesity were associated with a higher risk for the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in women.

"We conducted a large Danish population-based prospective cohort study based on the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort," Linauskas said. "Just above 56,000 Danish men and women were recruited to the cohort in the period between 1993 to 1997. Age at recruitment was 50 to 64 years."

The investigators collected data at the recruitment, including anthropometric measurements (e.g., body mass index [BMI], waist circumference, and bioimpedance derived body fat percentage) and information on lifestyle-related factors.

"We followed up with the participants until the development of RA (identified through the Danish National Patient Registry), loss to follow-up, death, or October 2016, whichever came first. We performed statistical analyses regarding association between anthropometric measures at the recruitment and the subsequent development of RA, separately for men and women," Linauskas said. "Overweight and obesity -- defined by BMI, waist circumference greater than 88 cm for women, and body fat percentage greater than 30 percent for women aged 50 to 64 years -- were associated with higher risk for the development of RA in women. The associations in men were not consistent."

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In the Fracture Study in Postmenopausal Women with Osteoporosis (FRAME), Piet Geusens, M.D., Ph.D., of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues found that, compared to placebo, romosozumab was associated with a reduced risk of vertebral fracture at 12 months in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

"These results support this new class of drug as a highly effective treatment for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis with established bone mineral density deficit who are at increased risk of fracture," Geusens said in a statement. "The rapid and large reduction in clinical vertebral fracture risk is an important and highly relevant clinical outcome."

The FRAME trial was funded by Amgen, the manufacturer of romosozumab.

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