Clinical comparisons of RA between different populations: are they feasible?
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Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common chronic inflammatory disease affecting about 1% of the white population, particularly female patients, and has considerable physical, psychological, and social repercussions.1 In a paper published previously in the Annals, Dadoniene et al described and compared two cohorts of patients with RA from Vilnius (Lithuania) and Oslo (Norway).2 There were no significant differences in sex, age, extra-articular manifestations, education, or family history of RA between the groups. None the less, there were important differences in disease activity, disability, pain, emotional, mental and general health, with patients in the Vilnius group having the worst scores. The number of patients who had never used a disease modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) was similar in both groups. Vilnius patients had more commonly used azathioprine, sulfasalazine, and antimalarial drugs, whereas Oslo patients had used methotrexate, gold salts, cyclosporin, and D-penicillamine. Surgery was more common in the Oslo patients. That study was developed to compare the evolution and outcomes of two different populations with RA and was the first to include health related quality of life. The authors attributed the differences between these groups to differences in economic status, medical care, drugs used and, to a lesser extent, genetic differences.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) , Chronic inflammatory disease , HLA