Five Within Our Reach science investigators provided overviews and updates of their RA research projects to the newly formed Within Our Reach advisory board at its inaugural meeting, held November 8, 2007.
The meeting gave advisory board members an opportunity to interact with these award recipients, seeing just how their donor dollars have been used and appreciating the impact of financial support from the Within Our Reach campaign. Here are some highlights from the recipients’ presentations.
- Joan M. Bathon, MD, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center in Baltimore, discussed her research on rheumatoid arthritis and body composition:
RA is highly inflammatory chronic disease that significantly diminishes physical function and causes premature mortality, primarily through accelerated cardiovascular disease. It has been shown that body composition is adversely affected in RA, as reflected by a reduction in lean (muscle) mass and in an increase in fat mass. Fat itself is a potent source of proinflammatory cytokines and adipokines, and increased fat mass is associated with insulin resistance and cardiovascular events in the general population.
Dr. Bathon’s study will lay the groundwork for clinical recommendations and interventions to identify and reverse adverse body composition, and will set the stage for clinical trials to investigate the effect of modifying body composition on morbidity and mortality in RA.