Disease activity and cognition in rheumatoid arthritis: an open label pilot study

Graham Raftery, Jiabao He, Ruth Pearce, Daniel Birchall, Julia L Newton, Andrew M Blamire, John D Isaacs

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21 Citations (Scopus)
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ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: We hypothesised that fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is related to TNF-alpha induced dysregulation of cerebral blood flow. Our objectives were to assess fatigue, cognitive function and cerebral blood flow before and after initiation of anti-TNF treatment. METHODS: In a pilot study, 15 patients initiating treatment with adalimumab were assessed for fatigue using a visual analogue scale (FACIT-F), cognitive function using a panel of psychometric tests and regional cerebral blood flow using MR perfusion imaging. RESULTS: Patients improved clinically after anti-TNF therapy in terms of DAS28 and FACIT-F. Furthermore significant improvements were documented in full scale, verbal and performance IQ following therapy. There was a non-significant trend towards reduced cerebral perfusion in both grey and white matter, and fatigue at 3 months correlated with cerebral blood flow in white (p = 0.014) and grey (p = 0.005) matter. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate for the first time a significant improvement in cognitive function following effective treatment of RA. Although we observed minor reductions in cerebral blood flow, and a correlation between cerebral blood flow and fatigue, a larger, controlled study would be required to affirm a causal relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberR263
Number of pages6
JournalArthritis Research & Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2012


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