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Medical News & Perspectives
March 28, 2017

To Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis, Look Past the Joints to the Gums

JAMA. 2017;317(12):1201-1202. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.0764

The mouth may seem like a strange place to search for a culprit in a disease that primarily affects the joints. But a recent collaboration by a group of multidisciplinary researchers suggests that one type of oral bacteria may be an important trigger in about half of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cases.

The findings, published in Science Translational Medicine late last year, appear to confirm something that’s been suspected for at least a century: In some cases, gum-disease causing oral bacteria may set off a cascade of events that leads to the autoimmune form of arthritis.