Friday, February 13, 2015

Certain Infections Linked to Reduced Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis

People with recent gut, urinary tract, or genital infections may be less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, new research says.

The findings are “particularity interesting” in light of recent research suggesting that digestive system bacteria may play a role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis, researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, said.

The study included almost 6,500 people from Sweden. Their average age was 52. About 70% were women. More than 2,800 people in the group were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis between 1996 and 2009.

According to the study, having a gut infection within the preceding two years was associated with a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis by 29%. A urinary tract infection was associated with a 22% lower risk, while a genital infection was associated with a 20% lower risk.

People who had all three types of infections in the preceding two years were 50% less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, according to the researchers.

Gut, urinary tract or genital infections within the past year did not affect rheumatoid arthritis risk, nor did recent respiratory infections.

Researchers only found an association between previous infections and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, not a cause-and-effect link.

The study was published online in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
One explanation is that certain infections may alter the types of bacteria in the digestive system, the researchers said. They also noted that antibiotics used to treat gut, urinary and genital infections are effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

My Take:
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an auto-immune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the connective tissue surrounding the joints of the body. RA is much more common in women than men. Dysbiosis has been suspected as the trigger, if not the true cause, of this disease for several years now.
I believe that the immune system of the body needs to be challenged by various infections to operate normally. I am not advocating that you deliberately contract a genital infection to try to avoid rheumatoid arthritis.

However, I am convinced that daily exposure to the microbes around us is vital to a healthy immune system. Please see my blog “2014 in Review” posted on December 29, 2014. I list five blogs that I posted during the year on gut microbes and their importance in human health.

The microbiome of the gut is unique for every individual. The composition of bacteria is based on genetics, diet, and other environmental factors. As we alter that environment we influence the microbiome. Your children will have a very similar bacterial composition as long as they live in your home. Not so true with your spouse, even if you have been together for 40 years – there are no shared genetics. Once your children move away from home, their microbiome will begin to shift as a result of their new environment.

Our attempts to eliminate harmful bacteria have stimulated a dramatic increase in autoimmune disease. Eighty percent of all emerging diseases are autoimmune in nature. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics is at the core of this pattern. MRSA and C. difficille are just the tip of the iceberg. The increase in MS, RA, lupus, and a host of other autoimmune diseases can be laid at the feet of broad spectrum antibiotic therapy.

The Bottom Line:
Allow your kids to play in the dirt, just not a sandbox that cats have used for a litter. Constant exposure to infection is normal in life. It is that very exposure that keeps the immune system strong and balanced. However, be very careful about touching any surface in a hospital. The staph infections in most hospitals are antibiotic resistant, if contracted, they can be difficult or impossible to cure.

Source: February 5, 2015 National Institutes of Health

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