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Highly Accessed Review

What epidemiology has told us about risk factors and aetiopathogenesis in rheumatic diseases

Jacqueline E Oliver and Alan J Silman*

Author Affiliations

Arthritis Research Campaign, Copeman House, St Mary's Court, St Mary's Gate, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S41 7TD, UK

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009, 11:223  doi:10.1186/ar2585

Published: 19 May 2009

Abstract

This article will review how epidemiological studies have advanced our knowledge of both genetic and environmental risk factors for rheumatic diseases over the past decade. The major rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, osteoarthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia, and chronic widespread pain, will be covered. Advances discussed will include how a number of large prospective studies have improved our knowledge of risk factors, including diet, obesity, hormones, and smoking. The change from small-scale association studies to genome-wide association studies using gene chips to reveal new genetic risk factors will also be reviewed.