In a new study from Mayo Clinic, researchers found a major indicator of whether a patient with rheumatoid arthritis will improve over the course of disease may lie in part in their gut.
They found that predicting a patient’s future rheumatoid arthritis prognosis could be possible by zeroing in on the trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit their gastrointestinal tract, known as the gut microbiome.
The findings suggest that gut microbes and a patient’s outcome of rheumatoid arthritis are connected.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disorder characterized by joint inflammation and pain that can eventually lead to bone and cartilage erosion, joint deformity and loss of mobility. This complex disease affects nearly 1.3 million people in the U.S.
In the study, the team performed a comprehensive precision genomic analysis on stool samples from 32 patients with rheumatoid arthritis at two separate clinical visits.
They found several traits of the gut microbiome linked to future prognosis.
There are significantly different microbiome traits between patients who eventually showed improvement and those who did not.
What was surprising is that the data suggest that depending on the eventual clinical outcome, gut microbiomes not only start at different ecological states, but also grow and develop differently.
Next, by using deep-learning artificial intelligence (AI), the team examined if they could predict whether a patient achieves clinical improvement.
Overall, the predictive performance resulted in 90% accuracy, thereby showcasing the proof of concept that the integration of gut microbiome and AI technology could theoretically be an avenue to predict disease course in rheumatoid arthritis.
The team says with further development, such prognostic biomarkers could identify patients who will achieve early clinical improvement with a given therapy, thereby sparing them the expense and risk of other therapies that are less likely to be effective.
If you care about gut health, please read studies about your vitamin D level may affect your gut health and findings of a high-sugar diet may damage your gut, increase risk of this bowel disease.
For more information about gut diseases, please see recent studies about poor sleep linked to high blood pressure and bad gut health and results showing that common gut disease linked to high risk of substance use disorder.
The study is published in Genome Medicine. One author of the study is Jaeyun Sung, Ph.D.
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