Ongoing research studies and activity
Does a single high does intra-muscular corticosteroid injection, given for treatment of disease flare, exacerbate muscle loss in rheumatoid arthritis patients?
The aim of the study is to investigate the effects on muscle mass, of a single high dose intra-muscular (IM) corticosteroid (CS) injection given to treat disease flare in RA patients. This form of treatment is routine and recommended when patients have high, uncontrolled disease activity (i.e. when first diagnosed or during disease “flares”). Based on our observation of marked muscle loss following a single CS injection in a patient involved in our creatine supplementation study, we hypothesize that this treatment may exacerbate the muscle loss and (consequently) the disability associated with RA.
Efficacy of oral creatine supplementation in restoring muscle mass and function to rheumatoid arthritis patients
The aim of the study is to enhance current oral creatine supplementation is very effective in increasing muscle mass and improving physical function in healthy individuals. The aim of this investigation is to determine whether similar benefits occur in RA patients. This study builds on our previous finding (Marcora et al., 2005 Clin Nutr 24:442-54) that protein supplementation elicits significant improvements in muscle mass and function in established RA patients. 2013- present
Effect of current Treat-to-Target treatment strategy on rheumatoid cachexia and physical function in rheumatoid arthritis patients:
RA patients historically have been characterised by muscle loss (evident in around 67% of patients with controlled disease) and obesity (evident in around 80%). This aberrant body composition phenotype is termed "rheumatoid cachexia", and is a major contributor to the poor physical function and disability that are a feature of RA, and is also associated with the increased risk of co-morbidity (e.g. cardio-vascular disease (CVD), metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes) RA experience. The aim of this investigation is to determine whether current more aggressive and effective treatments for RA have reduced the magnitude and prevalence of rheumatoid cachexia, and as a consequence improved physical function. As part of this trial, a healthy control group is being recruited to provide a comparable data to our RA cohort. Additionally, recently diagnosed RA patients (<12 months since diagnosis) will be assessed annually for 8 years to provide a clearer picture of the evolutions of rheumatoid cachexia, functional impairment, and exacerbated CVD risk in RA. 2013- present