Rheumatoid Arthritis Inflammation

Rheumatoid Arthritis Inflammation

By Staff.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory and autoimmune condition that can affect a person’s joints and the rest of their body, inducing fatigue, sleep and creating cognitive difficulties.

There has been limited understanding of how inflammation affects the brain for people with conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA).  Researchers are starting to focus in on that topic and they’ve published their examination of the issue in a new study in Nature Communications.

“Even though it has been assumed for a long time that the inflammation we see in blood is impacting the brain, up until this study we didn’t know precisely where and how those changes in the brain were actually happening.” says Andrew Schrepf, Ph.D., a research investigator at Michigan Medicine’s Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center and one of the lead authors of the study.

Schrepf says the effects of inflammation are more understood in short-term illnesses, but the same can’t be said for chronic conditions.

“When a person becomes sick with the flu, for example, they begin to show symptoms of the inflammation happening in their body, such as feeling lethargic and being unable to control their body temperature,” he says. “We wanted to understand what is happening in conditions where patients have inflammation for weeks, months or years, such as in rheumatoid arthritis.”

Using functional and structural neuroimaging of the data set at baseline and six months, the research team examined whether higher levels of peripheral inflammation were associated with brain connectivity and structure.

“We took the levels of inflammation in their peripheral blood, just as it would be done clinically by a rheumatologist to monitor the severity of their disease and how it’s being controlled,” Schrepf says. “We found profound and consistent results in a couple areas of the brain that were becoming connected to several brain networks. We then looked again six months later and saw similar patterns, and this replication of results is not that common in neuroimaging studies.”

Co-first author Chelsea Kaplan, Ph.D., an anesthesiology research fellow at Michigan Medicine, then examined the functional connectivity of 264 regions of the brain and identified increased connectivity patterns in patients experiencing heightened levels of inflammation.

“In a graph theoretical analysis across the whole brain network, and correlating that with levels of inflammation, we saw a lot of convergence across methods and time points for the amount of connectivity in the inferior parietal lobule and medial prefrontal cortex,” Kaplan says.

“This showed us that the brain doesn’t operate in isolation. It also demonstrated how inflammation we measure in the periphery may be actually altering functional connections in the brain and playing a role in some of the cognitive symptoms we see in rheumatoid arthritis.”

While the data support the idea that rheumatoid arthritis inflammation targets the brain and not just the joints, researchers pointed out additional research is needed on the correlation.

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Authored by: Staff

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john skeba

I think the government wants us dead . Sorry I have worked since the age of 14 why is my payment 1300.00/mo(leaving me 300 for food and necessitys)

john skeba

Depression is horrible and so is the money from SSDI HOW CAN WE LIVE !!!!


First sentence of prior statement serious. Second is symptom of chronic pain.. .LOL!!


Extrapolating from this study leads me to believe these changes happen in all chronic inflammation conditions. Totally makes sense with my self diagnosed H.U.B. Syndrome.

H.U.B. - head up butt


@Bill… Where do you live? Post it back and maybe others can help you find someone. And check with the US Pain Foundation. uspainfoundation.org

Dear Ed and Staff, Thank you so very much for this information. Aside from living with my Chronic Intractable Spine Pain issues and CRPS, I also have been told years ago that I have Fibromyalgia. I do not beleive that it is FM but perhaps Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (muscle pain, inflammation of the brain and myelin lining of the spinal cord). It is difficult to find a good doctor who is educated in it therefore I am doing my own research and got my primary doc to order some specific bloodwork that I asked for. I just had it done on Friday.
Reading your post caused my heart to jump, knowing that research is being done on immuno and inflammation related brain reactions. Very interesting to me since I can feel it when my body gets very inflamed and feels like I have the flu for long periods of time.

Susan L.

Ah, Bill…welcome to the club. If you find someone, let the rest of us know, would you?

Best of luck to you.


Back in 1973, I heard a doctor speaking about a study he performed for his grandmother. She had arthritis that bends your fingers out of shape(sorry can’t think of the name of it off hand). He had come across a study that was done by a doctor around the turn of the century. The doctor had given 100 patients cod liver oil and instructed them to take it on an empty stomach mixed with a beverage of their choice. All 100 had improvements in their abilities that arthritis had taken away. He tried this with his grandmother and within six months her dry ear wax had returned to normal after a year she was able to knit again and her fingers were back to where they belong. A couple of years ago I got where I couldn’t get up and down off the floor because my knees hurt so bad. I am now fully functional as far as getting up and down goes. All you have to do is take a teaspoon of cod liver oil mix it with your favorite drink and drink it. I prefer to use a small amount to mix with, that way I can drink it all in one drink. I also use a cherry flavored oil which helps. There is no bad aftertaste only a little oily feeling in your mouth that quickly goes away. The only thing I know of that you need to be careful about is your intake of vitamin A, too much is not good for you. I hope you try this if you can I’m glad I did.


Wish i could find a person that gives pain meds .I have dieabetis and the pain is terrible.In fingers and feet.Plus I have other issues from neck and arm surgeries.