ASIF News No. 11 (November 2010)

World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day: Events in the Countries

For the first time, a World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day was held on May 8, 2010 in several countries. The aim was to make ankylosing spondylitis and the disease-specific organisation of patients with this disease known in the public. We report on events which took place in Portugal, Turkey, Hungary, and the United Kingdom. The reports shall encourage patients with ankylosing spondylitis to start similar actions also in their countries.

ASIF Council meeting 2011 in Ismir, Turkey    

The ASIF executive committee has graciously accepted an invitation from Dr. Tuncay Duruöz, president of The Ankylosing spondylitis society in Turkey, Ankilosan Spondilit Hasta Dernegi (ASHAD), to host the next ASIF Council meeting in Izmir, Turkey.

News from NASS, United Kingdom    

The National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) in the united Kingdom have had a very busy first 6 months in 2010, with launching a new document entitled “Looking Ahead – Best practice for the care of people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS)” which can be downloaded from the NASS website under ; with a member survey the report on which is likewise available in the NASS website; a walk on World AS day entitled «NASS en Masse»; and with launching a new gymn guide for people with AS called «Back in Action».

How should first-responders deal with AS patients in an emergency setting?

Lecture presented at the 9th ASIF Council meeting 2008 in Bad Hofgastein by the former ASIF president Dr. Jon Erlendsson, rheumatologist in Horsens, Denmark, with presentation of the DVD «Ankylosing spondylitis: Managing patients in an emergency setting» produced by the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA). 

You can watch the DVD on

Every seventh patient with ankylosing spondylitis suffers a spinal fracture during his/her life    

Reto Baliarda, editor of the journal of the Swiss AS patient organisation and ASIF webmaster, summarises some research results on spinal fractures in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (see also ASIF News No. 2 pages 12–16). A minor incident may be sufficient to cause such a fracture, especially with increasing age. A timely diagnosis after an accident may prevent neurological complications.

As patients with ankylosing spondylitis, we have to be more careful than others   

Interview by Reto Baliarda, editor of the membership journal of the Swiss AS society, with Ernst Feldtkeller, scientific advisor to ASIF and scientific editor of the membership journal of the German AS society, on his staircase accident in 2009 leading to a vertebral fracture, and his consequences for patients with ankylosing spondylitis.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Research Group in Iran?    

In Iran an Ankylosing Spondylitis Research Group was founded in 2002 with the purpose of “a better understanding of the disease, better quality of life of patients”. They collaborate with the Iranian Ankylosing Spondylitis Association. Their research is focussed on genetic and immunological studies.

Successful treatment of cauda equina syndrome complicating ankylosing spondylitis    

Cauda equina syndrome (horse tail syndrome) is a seldom complication of longstanding AS where the lower end of the spinal channel is inflamed, often associated with neurological deficits. No successful treatment was available upto now. The authors describe a successful treatment with infliximab in a 66-years old man with ankylosing spondylitis.

Fatigue in patients with ankylosing spondylitis    

In a study with 62 patients with AS, 50% had severe fatigue (reply to fatigue question in BASDAI questionnaire at least half scale length). 55% had sleep disorders , and 27% had depression. Besides the disease activity, the effects of psychogenic factors, especially depression, should be taken into consideration in the management of AS.

The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in patients with ankylosing spondylitis    

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition characterized by frequent episodes of upper airway collapse during sleep preventing air from entering the lungs. It can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and is associated with car crashes involving drivers who fall asleep, and cardiovascular disease. In this study 23% of patients with ankylosing spondylitis had obstructive sleep apnea, compared with 3% in the general population.

International Workshop of Ankylosing Spondylitis Researchers in Berlin    

Every year in January the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS) holds their annual workshop in the home town of AS researchers. Reports of ASAS workshops in the years 2007–2009 were contained in ASIF News No. 5, 7, and 9. The workshop of 2010 took place in Berlin. Among the participants were again Ernst Feldtkeller, former ASIF vice president, and Tuncay Duruöz, member of the ASIF Executive Committee. Aim of ASAS is the creation of criteria for classification and diagnosis, of assessment methods for the outcome documentation, and of recommendations for the management of the spondyloarthritides (inflammatory spine diseases)..