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12-12-2019 | Rheumatology | News | Article

Family history of certain conditions may predict RA risk

medwireNews: People with a family history of rheumatologic autoimmune diseases, osteoarthritis (OA), and thyroid disorders, as well as a number of other conditions, may have an increased risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), research shows.

These findings therefore provide an opportunity to “identify novel populations at risk for RA, improve RA risk prediction tools, and uncover RA pathogenesis,” say Vanessa Kronzer and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA.

Kronzer and team investigated whether having a self-reported family history of 79 different medical conditions was associated with RA risk in a cohort of 821 patients with RA from the Mayo Clinic Biobank and 2455 controls matched for age, sex, recruitment year, and location.

After adjustment for body mass index, race, and smoking status, the researchers found that the strongest risk factor for RA was a family history of RA, at an odds ratio (OR) of 2.44.

Other significant risk factors included pulmonary fibrosis (OR=2.12), rheumatologic autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma and systemic lupus erythematosus (OR=1.89), inflammatory bowel disease (OR=1.45), OA, (OR=1.41), hyper/hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia (OR=1.34), obstructive sleep apnea (OR=1.28), and migraine headaches (OR=1.20).

However, Kronzer et al note that only family history of non-RA rheumatologic autoimmune diseases, OA, and hyper/hypothyroidism met the prespecified statistical significance threshold of p<0.01. The remaining variables were significant at a level of p<0.05.

The investigators also found that Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes were associated with reduced risk for RA, at adjusted ORs of 0.70 and 0.81, respectively, but only at the threshold of p<0.05.

In a subset of 143 patients who developed RA after the baseline questionnaire, the researchers generally observed similar results.

However, in this group, the risk for incident RA was also associated with a family history of autism (OR=10.5), celiac disease (OR=4.61), and liver disease (OR=3.39) in an unadjusted analysis.

Kronzer and co-investigators note that an association between autism and RA has also been reported in two previous studies and “may merit further study.”

The findings are published in Arthritis Care & Research.

By Laura Cowen

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2019 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

Arthritis Care Res 2019; doi:10.1002/acr.24115

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