News in brief: JIA flares seen in kids during lockdown; Doctors hit the bottle to relieve pandemic distress; Recurrent swelling common in joints affected by RA

Arthritis flares seen in kids with JIA during lockdown

The first COVID-19 lockdown was associated with a higher rate of joint inflammation in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

An Italian study compared disease flare in 250 children before (March – June 2019) and during lockdown (March -June 2020).

The study found the rate of disease flare during the first lockdown in 2020 was significantly higher than the same period in the previous year (16.9% vs 6.3%, p=0.009).

Similarly, more new treatments were initiated in 2020 compared to 2019 (15.3% v 6.3%; p=0.022).

The study suggested that lifestyle modifications during lockdown, particularly less physical activity, lead to clinical worsening.

“On this basis, we believe that prescription of home-based exercise programs by a physical therapist should be promoted to implement JIA management in case of public lockdowns.”

Read more in Arthritis Research & Care

Doctors hit the bottle to relieve pandemic distress

Alcohol is one of the main coping strategies used by Australian healthcare workers in response to the pandemic, a national survey has revealed.

Conducted in September 2020, the survey on wellbeing and coping strategies elicited responses from 7846 frontline healthcare workers including more than 2400 medical staff, and showed that over a quarter (26.3%) reported increased alcohol use.

The most commonly reported adaptive coping strategies were exercise (45%), social connections (32%) and yoga or meditation (26%), whereas few used workplace support programs (6%) or sought help from a doctor or psychologist (18%).

Use of alcohol was associated with poor mental health and worse personal relationships, the study found.

The study investigators said the widespread use of maladaptive coping strategies by healthcare workers during the second wave highlighted an urgent need to improve access and uptake of professional support services for psychological distress.

Read more in General Hospital Psychiatry

Recurrent swelling common in joints affected by RA

Joint swelling tends to recur locally in the same joints which were swollen at the onset of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

A Dutch study assessed 68 joints every three months over 10 years of treatment to target in 508 patients.

The study found that joint swelling at baseline was statistically significantly associated with swelling in the same joint during follow-up (OR 2.37;p <0.001).

Almost half (46%) of joints that were swollen at baseline, had recurrent joint swelling at least once during follow-up.

“This suggests that local factors influence the manifestation of joint inflammation over time,” the study concluded.

Read more in Annals of Rheumatic Disease



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