Researchers from the University of Colorado and other institutions have found something surprising: a special kind of bacteria living in our gut might cause rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in people who are already at risk for this painful joint condition.
This discovery could open the door to new ways of preventing the disease. The study took five years to complete and was made possible by volunteers who found out they were at risk for RA and wanted to help.
How the Study Worked
The scientists started by taking antibodies from people who had signs in their blood that they might develop RA. Antibodies are what our immune system uses to fight off germs.
The researchers mixed these antibodies with stool samples from the same people to find out which bacteria the antibodies were targeting.
To make sure they were on the right track, they then put the bacteria they found into animals. The animals developed the same blood signs of RA risk that the humans had.
Some even got full-blown RA. The team found out that T cells, a type of immune cell in our blood, react to these bacteria in people with RA but not in people without it.
What This Could Mean for Future Treatment
The big takeaway here is that if this specific bacteria is setting off the immune reaction that leads to RA, then maybe we can stop RA from developing by targeting the bacteria with medicine.
Next, the researchers plan to look more closely at how exactly the bacteria start this immune reaction and how to stop it from happening.
Tips for Overall Wellness and Bone Health
Interested in keeping your bones and muscles healthy as you age? Research suggests that having enough vitamin K could prevent hip fractures in older people.
Other studies show that certain vitamins could reduce the risk of bone fractures.
There’s even some evidence that krill oil might improve muscle health in older adults, and eating Jarlsberg cheese could help prevent bone thinning.
This new study is a big deal because it could change how we approach treating and maybe even preventing RA.
For people at risk, it offers the possibility of stopping the disease before it starts, all thanks to this surprising discovery about gut bacteria.
If you care about arthritis, please read studies about extra virgin olive oil for arthritis, and pomegranate: A natural treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
For more information about arthritis, please see recent studies about how to live pain-free with arthritis, and results showing medical cannabis may help reduce arthritis pain, back pain.
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