MADRID — Findings presented at the EULAR Annual Congress indicated a link between second-hand smoke exposure in childhood and early rheumatoid arthritis.
“Our study highlights the importance of avoiding any tobacco environment in children, especially in those with a family history of [rheumatoid arthritis] RA,” Raphaéle Seror, MD, from University Hospitals of South Paris, said in a press release.
Researchers submitted 11 self-administered questionnaires to 70,598 female volunteers born between 1925 and 1950 and followed since 1990.
Investigators found 1,239 patients reported incidental RA, of whom 350 were included in the study. Among smokers who had been exposed to smoke during childhood, there was a link with an increased risk for RA (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.73) compared with non-smokers who had not been exposed to smoke during childhood; whereas, there was a link for active smokers who had not been exposed to smoke during childhood (HR = 1.37). In addition, chronic diarrhea was linked with an increased risk for RA (HR = 2.32); whereas, chronic constipation or alternation between diarrhea and constipation was not linked with an increased risk.
“An association between a history of chronic diarrhea and the risk of developing RA supports the hypothesis of dysbiosis (a bacterial imbalance in the gut) as a risk factor for the emergence of immune-mediated inflammatory disease,” Seror said in the release. “These data fit perfectly with the preclinical scheme of RA where an external event occurs at an early stage to promote emergence of so-called auto-immunity, followed years later by clinical RA.” — by Will Offit
Seror R, et al. Abstract #OP0253. Presented at: EULAR Annual Congress; June 14-17, 2017; Madrid.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.