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Health Agencies Update
December 24/31, 2003

Testosterone Trials

JAMA. 2003;290(24):3186. doi:10.1001/jama.290.24.3186-a

New research funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases indicates that patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) usually have autoantibodies in their blood years before any symptoms arise (N Engl J Med. 2003;349:1526-1533). The results suggest that the presence of autoantibodies, which attack the body's healthy tissues, may alert physicians of a patient's risk of developing lupus in the future.

The study's authors used blood specimens from a repository of specimens prospectively collected from US Armed Forces personnel, testing samples from 130 individuals collected before they were diagnosed as having SLE, as well as samples from matched controls. They found that 88% of those with lupus had autoantibodies in their blood for months to years before feeling any effects of the disease compared with 3.8% of controls.

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