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Rheumatoid arthritis during pregnancy may increase chronic disease risk in children

December 11, 2017

New research reveals that children born to women with rheumatoid arthritis face an increased susceptibility for certain chronic diseases. The findings, which appear in Arthritis Care & Research, should be used to increase awareness among pediatricians and general practitioners.

Pregnant women with rheumatoid arthritis may be concerned that they might pass rheumatoid arthritis or other related diseases on to their children. To look into the issue, Line Jølving, MHS of Odense University Hospital and her colleagues conducted a nationwide study with long-term follow-up of all children born in Denmark during a 25-year period. This included 2106 children born to women with rheumatoid arthritis, and 1,378,539 children born to women without rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers found that the risk of being diagnosed with several diseases in childhood and adolescence increased when the mother was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis before pregnancy. Specifically, the presence of rheumatoid arthritis during pregnancy was linked with a 2.2-times increased risk of thyroid disease, a 1.6-times increased risk of epilepsy, and a 2.9-times increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis in offspring.

"We have addressed a concern in pregnant women with rheumatoid arthritis in terms of a potential increased risk of a negative impact of their chronic disease on the future health of their offspring," said Jølving. "Our results call for special attention on child development of rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and epilepsy if exposed to rheumatoid arthritis in utero."
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Full Citation: "Children born by women with rheumatoid arthritis have increased susceptibility for selected chronic diseases - a nationwide cohort study." Line Jølving, Jan Nielsen, Ulrik Kesmodel, Rasmus Nielsen, Signe Beck-Nielsen, and Bente Nørgård. Arthritis Care & Research; Published Online: December 11, 2017 (DOI: 10.1002/acr.23461).

URL Upon Publication: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/acr.23461

Author Contact: Kristian Skov-Larsen, of the press office at Odense University Hospital, at Kristian.Serge.Skov-Larsen@rsyd.dk.

About the Journal

Arthritis Care & Research is an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), a division of the College. Arthritis Care & Research is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes both original research and review articles that promote excellence in the clinical practice of rheumatology. Relevant to the care of individuals with arthritis and related disorders, major topics are evidence-based practice studies, clinical problems, practice guidelines, health care economics, health care policy, educational, social, and public health issues, and future trends in rheumatology practice. The journal is published by Wiley on behalf of the ACR. For more information, please visit the journal home page at http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/acr.

About Wiley

Wiley, a global research and learning company, helps people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 210 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The company's website can be accessed at http://www.wiley.com.

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