ASIF News No. 7 (April 2008)

Austria to host ASIF Council meeting in 2009    

The ASIF Executive Committee accepted the invitation to hold the next ASIF Council meeting in mid October 2009 in Bad Gastein, a spa where ankylosing spondylitis is treated with a combination of radon inhalation and hyperthermia at the end of a 2-km long mining gallery in the Alpine mountains 

The ASAS Workshop 2008 in Toronto    

AS Researchers connected in the "Assessment of SpondyloArthrisis international Society" (ASAS) reported the presnt state of their research in AS. Some of them are shown in illustrations of the article. 

ASIF & ASAS & EULAR: Historic Meeting at the Zürich Lake    

Members of the ASAS Steering Committee met with 17 AS patients from 10 countries in the EULAR house near Zürich to create a patient-understandable version of the ASAS/EULAR recommendations for the management of AS.

Interviews with the ASAS president and secretary    

Reto Baliarda, editor of the membership journal “vertical” of the AS association in Switzerland, interviewed the ASAS president and the ASAS secretary. Subject was the good cooperation between rheumatologists and well informed patients with AS.

Focus on the Patient” – Patient Associations’ Best Practice Meeting 2008 in Helsinki    

ASIF treasurer Torben Jørgensen gives a report of a meeting in Helsinki with about 100 patients with auto-immune diseases participating. 

Present Situation of AS Patients in Japan    

Dr. INOUE Hisashi, General Secretary of the Japan Ankylosing Spondylitis Club, presents the results of a study on the epidemiology, disease onset, diagnosis, familial occurrence, onset triggers, HLA-B27, associated diseases, treatment, and impact on social life of ankylosing spondylitis in Japan.

Ankylosing spondylitis in Moldavia    

Aurel Sarivan, a patient with AS living in the Republic of Moldavia, gives a report on a group of patients with AS fighting together against the disease in the poorest country of Europe.

Major genetic breakthrough for ankylosing spondylitis brings treatment hope    

Jane Skerrett, director of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society in the UK and member of the ASIF Executice Committee, reports new results of genetic research in AS. The research was sponsered by the Wellcome Trust in the UK.

Insidious Onset?    

In the criteria for inflammatory back pain of 1977, part of the ESSG criteria of the spondyloarthritides, "insidious onset" is one of the criteria. Since a sudden onset of AS is not at all seldom, researchers in Berlin created a new set of criteria for inflammatory back pain in which this criterion  is no more contained. 

HLA-B27: Why frequent in some countries and seldom in others?    

HLA-B27 and thus also ankylosing spondylitis is much more frequent in northern than in southern countries. A cause for this may be that carriers of HLA-B27 are less susceptible for some infections prevalent in northern countries. Prof. Mathieu et al. from the University of Cagliari, Sardinia, discuss another possible explanation: Carriers of other HLA-B genes are less susceptible for malaria than carriers of HLA-B27. 

Not less females with ankylosing spondylitis!    

According to the results of a survey by the AS patient organisation in Germany, the percentage of females is low among AS patients diagnosed in former decades, but almost 50% among AS patients diagnosed recently. A reason may be that the ankylosis progresses faster in male than in female patients with AS, and that the diagnosis was often made in former decades only after radiologic changes in the spine were visible.

Laurie Savage appointed to SAA Executive Director    

Laurie Savage who represented the Spondylitis Association of US-America at the ASIF Council meeting in Jáchymov in 2007, was appointed as new Executive Director of this organisation.