Researchers find out more information about gout development

December 28, 2012

Topic: orthopaedic research

Researchers from the University of Illinois have discovered that controlling a certain receptor can actually prevent the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

New orthopaedic research published in the journal Nature Genetics reveals that some individuals are more prone to developing gout than others. Scientists from several universities in the U.K. found 18 new genetic variations that cause uric acid levels to increase in the bloodstream, resulting in the joint condition.

Typically seen in men, gout is a common and painful form of arthritis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The condition occurs when uric acid, which is a bodily waste product, is deposited as needle-like crystals into the joints and soft tissues, causing inflamed joints. It is characterized by episodes that can last for days or weeks before going into temporary remission.

Risk factors include being overweight or obese, diuretic use, alcohol intake and a diet rich in seafood and meat, states the CDC.

The researchers looked at the genetic information of approximately 140,000 individuals across 70 different studies that took place all around the world. Getting more insight into the condition can ultimately help them figure out new ways to manage the symptoms of gout and potentially cure it.

"Existing therapies to avoid attacks of gout sometimes cause side effects," said lead author Mark Caulfield. "Our findings identify new potential mechanisms for gout and offer opportunities for new therapies which may improve prevention of this debilitating condition in the future."

Currently, gout is treated with one or a combination of therapies to ease discomfort associated with the episodes. Clinicians commonly recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease. 

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