ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
CANCER
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
CAREGIVING
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
FITNESS
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Go To Work But Skip The Car
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
U.S. Prepares for Possible Return of Swine Flu in Fall
Coffee Cuts Liver Scarring in Hepatitis C
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Help Your Kids Stay Active
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Add your Article

Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- People who drink alcohol regularly may cut their risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, a new study finds.

Alcohol has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and now this new study shows drinking may also reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis by up to 50 percent. This finding underscores the importance of lifestyle factors in the development of rheumatoid arthritis, the study authors said.

"Moderate alcohol consumption is not deleterious and may in some contexts be beneficial concerning risk for future onset of rheumatoid arthritis," said lead researcher Henrik Kallberg, of the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

"In addition, our paper underlines that smoking may trigger development of rheumatoid arthritis," Kallberg added.

The report was published in the June 4 online edition of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

For the research, Kallberg's team collected data on 2,750 men and women who took part in two studies of rheumatoid arthritis. Among these people, 1,650 had rheumatoid arthritis.

All the people in the study were asked about their lifestyles, including how much they smoked and drank. In addition, their blood was analyzed to check for genetic risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers found that both men and women who drank regularly were less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, those who drank the most cut their risk for developing the disease by 50 percent, compared with those who drank the least.

"Drinking more than three drinks per week is associated with a 50 percent decrease for developing rheumatoid arthritis," Kallberg said.

Moreover, in people with antibodies to a group of proteins involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis, drinking alcohol also cut the risk of developing the disease. And in most smokers who had genetic risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis, drinking also reduced the risk of the disease. Smoking is a major risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis, and that risk is increased for those with a genetic susceptibility to disease, the researchers noted.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system uses its own antibodies to attack joints, causing pain and swelling and loss of function in joints. The causes of the disease aren't known, but researchers suspect there is a strong genetic component as well as lifestyle risks.

Dr. John Hardin, the chief science officer for the Arthritis Foundation, said he wasn't surprised by the finding that alcohol could help prevent rheumatoid arthritis.

"This study brings attention to the fact that there are environmental factors that trigger rheumatoid arthritis," he said.

There are a variety of environmental factors that can either promote the disease or help prevent it, Hardin said. "What this means to me is that things that cause an inflammatory state in the body are a hazard requiring rheumatoid arthritis," he said.

"We know that smoking is one of the things associated with a systemic inflammatory response," Hardin said. "We also know that alcohol is a mild anti-inflammatory."

Hardin was cautious, however, about recommending drinking to stave off rheumatoid arthritis. "This study should not be construed as a license to go drink, because there are serious hazards associated with excess alcohol intake," he said.

More information

To learn more about rheumatoid arthritis, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Henrik Kallberg, MSc, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; John Hardin, M.D., chief science officer, Arthritis Foundation, Atlanta; June 4, 2008, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, online

Last Updated: June 05, 2008

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