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1.  Tophus measurement as an outcome measure for clinical trials of chronic gout: progress and research priorities 
The Journal of rheumatology  2011;38(7):10.3899/jrheum.110272.
Despite the recognition that tophus regression is an important outcome measure in clinical trials of chronic gout, there is no agreed method of tophus measurement. A number of methods have been used in clinical trials of chronic gout, from simple physical measurement techniques to complex advanced imaging methods. This paper summarises the methods of tophus measurement that have been used and discusses the properties of these methods. Physical measurement using Vernier calipers fulfils most aspects of the Outcomes Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) filter. Rigorous testing of the complex methods, particularly with respect to reliability and sensitivity to change is needed, to determine the appropriate use of these methods. Further information is also required regarding which method of physical measurement is best for use in future clinical trials. The need to develop and test a patient reported measure of tophus burden is also highlighted.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.110272
PMCID: PMC3882031  PMID: 21724716
2.  Reduced creatinine clearance is associated with early development of subcutaneous tophi in people with gout 
Background
Although typically a late feature of gout, tophi may present early in the course of disease. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with the presence of early tophaceous disease.
Methods
People with gout for <10 years were prospectively recruited, and had a comprehensive clinical assessment including examination for subcutaneous tophi. The clinical factors independently associated with the presence and number of tophi were analyzed using regression models.
Results
Of the 290 participants, there were 47 (16.2%) with clinically apparent tophi. In univariate analysis, those with tophi were older, were more frequently taking diuretics and colchicine prophylaxis, and had lower creatinine clearance. The association between the presence of tophi and creatinine clearance was strongest in those with creatinine clearance ≤30 ml/min. In logistic regression analysis, creatinine clearance ≤30 ml/min was associated with the presence of tophi, even after adjusting for ethnicity, corticosteroid use, colchicine use and diuretic use (multivariate adjusted odds ratio 7.0, p = 0.005). Participants with tophi reported higher frequency of gout flares, pain scores, patient global assessment scores, and HAQ scores.
Conclusions
The presence of tophi is associated with more symptomatic disease in people with gout for <10 years. Creatinine clearance is independently associated with early presentation of subcutaneous tophi.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-363
PMCID: PMC3878111  PMID: 24359261
Gout; Tophus; Kidney; Creatinine
3.  The Essential Research Curriculum for Doctor of Pharmacy Degree Programs 
Pharmacotherapy  2010;30(9):966.
doi:10.1592/phco.30.9.966
PMCID: PMC3061314  PMID: 20795851
curriculum; research; doctor of pharmacy degree
4.  Circulating mediators of bone remodeling in psoriatic arthritis: implications for disordered osteoclastogenesis and bone erosion 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(4):R164.
Introduction
Diverse bone pathologies are observed in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Uncoupling of bone remodeling with disordered osteoclastogenesis has been implicated in the pathogenesis of PsA. The aim of this study was to examine the role of soluble mediators of bone remodeling within the circulation of patients with PsA.
Methods
Patients with PsA (n = 38), with psoriasis (n = 10), and healthy controls (n = 12) were studied. Serum was obtained for testing of Dikkopf-1 (Dkk-1), macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF), osteoprotegerin (OPG), and receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) with ELISA. Patients with PsA also had bone densitometry, plain radiographs of the hands and feet, and assessment of peripheral blood osteoclast precursors. Radiographs were scored for erosion, joint-space narrowing, osteolysis, and new bone formation.
Results
Compared with those with psoriasis and healthy controls, patients with PsA had higher circulating concentrations of Dkk-1 and M-CSF. In patients with PsA, M-CSF and RANKL, but not Dkk-1, concentrations positively correlated with radiographic erosion, joint-space narrowing, and osteolysis scores. Mediators of bone remodeling did not correlate with the number of joints with new bone formation or with total hip-bone mineral density. Peripheral blood CD14+/CD11b+ cells, and the number of osteoclast-like cells and resorptive pits after culture with RANKL and M-CSF also correlated with radiographic damage scores. Circulating M-CSF concentrations correlated with the percentage of peripheral blood CD14+/CD11b+ cells.
Conclusions
Systemic expression of soluble factors that promote osteoclastogenesis is disordered in patients with PsA and may contribute to periarticular bone loss in this disease.
doi:10.1186/ar3123
PMCID: PMC2945067  PMID: 20796300
5.  Effectiveness of a clinical pathway for acute stroke care in a district general hospital: an audit 
Background
Organised stroke care saves lives and reduces disability. A clinical pathway might be a form of organised stroke care, but the evidence for the effectiveness of this model of care is limited.
Methods
This study was a retrospective audit study of consecutive stroke admissions in the setting of an acute general medical unit in a district general hospital. The case-notes of patients admitted with stroke for a 6-month period before and after introduction of the pathway, were reviewed to determine data on length of stay, outcome, functional status, (Barthel Index, BI and Modified Rankin Scale, MRS), Oxfordshire Community Stroke Project (OCSP) sub-type, use of investigations, specific management issues and secondary prevention strategies. Logistic regression was used to adjust for differences in case-mix.
Results
N = 77 (prior to the pathway) and 76 (following the pathway). The median (interquartile range, IQR) age was 78 years (67.75–84.25), 88% were European NZ and 37% were male. The median (IQR) BI at admission for the pre-pathway group was less than the post-pathway group: 6 (0–13.5) vs. 10 (4–15.5), p = 0.018 but other baseline variables were statistically similar. There were no significant differences between any of the outcome or process of care variables, except that echocardiograms were done less frequently after the pathway was introduced. A good outcome (MRS<4) was obtained in 66.2% prior to the pathway and 67.1% after the pathway. In-hospital mortality was 20.8% and 23.1%. However, using logistic regression to adjust for the differences in admission BI, it appeared that admission after the pathway was introduced had a significant negative effect on the probability of good outcome (OR 0.29, 95%CI 0.09-0.99).
Conclusion
A clinical pathway for acute stroke management appeared to have no benefit for the outcome or processes of care and may even have been associated with worse outcomes. These data support the conclusions of a recent Cochrane review.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-6-16
PMCID: PMC1403773  PMID: 16504101
7.  Prescription and dosing of urate-lowering therapy, rather than patient behaviours, are the key modifiable factors associated with targeting serum urate in gout 
Background
Long term serum urate (SU) lowering to a target of <0.36 mmol/l (6 mg/dl) is recommended for effective gout management. However, many studies have reported low achievement of SU targets. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine the clinical and psychological factors associated with SU targets in patients with gout.
Methods
Patients with gout for <10 years were recruited from primary and secondary care settings. SU target was defined as SU concentration <0.36 mmol/L at the time of the study visit. Both clinical and psychological factors associated with SU target were analysed. The relationship between SU target and measures of gout activity such as flare frequency, tophi, work absences, and Health Assessment Questionnaire-II was also analysed.
Results
Of the 273 patients enrolled into the study, 89 (32.6%) had SU concentration <0.36 mmol/L. Urate-lowering therapy (ULT) use was strongly associated with SU target (p < 0.001). In those patients prescribed ULT (n = 181), allopurinol dose, patient confidence to keep SU under control, female sex, and ethnicity were independently associated with SU target. Other patient psychological measures and health-related behaviours, including adherence scores, were not independently associated with SU target in those taking ULT. Creatinine clearance, diuretic use, age, and body mass index were not associated with SU target. Patients at SU target reported lower gout flare frequency, compared with those not at target (p = 0.03).
Conclusions
ULT prescription and dosing are key modifiable factors associated with achieving SU target. These data support interventions focusing on improved use of ULT to optimise outcomes in patients with gout.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-174
PMCID: PMC3493372  PMID: 22978848
Gout; Urate; Target; Allopurinol
8.  MRI bone oedema scores are higher in the arthritis mutilans form of psoriatic arthritis and correlate with high radiographic scores for joint damage 
Introduction
The aim of this study was to investigate the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of bone disease in the arthritis mutilans (AM) form of psoriatic arthritis (PsA).
Methods
Twenty-eight patients with erosive PsA were enrolled (median disease duration of 14 years). Using x-rays of both hands and feet, 11 patients were classified as AM and 17 as non-AM (erosive psoriatic arthritis without bone lysis)by two observers. MRI scans (1.5T) of the dominant hand (wrist and fingers scanned separately) were obtained using standard contrast-enhanced T1-weighted and fat-saturated T2-weighted sequences. Scans were scored separately by two readers for bone erosion, oedema and proliferation using a PsA MRI scoring system. X-rays were scored for erosions and joint space narrowing.
Results
On MRI, 1013 bones were scored by both readers. Reliability for scoring erosions and bone oedema was high (intraclass correlation coefficients = 0.80 and 0.77 respectively) but only fair for bone proliferation (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.42). MRI erosion scores were higher in AM patients (53.0 versus 15.0, p = 0.004) as were bone oedema and proliferation scores (14.7 versus 10.0, p = 0.056 and 3.6 versus 0.7, p = 0.003 respectively). MRI bone oedema scores correlated with MRI erosion scores and X-ray erosion and joint space narrowing scores (r = 0.65, p = 0.0002 for all) but not the disease activity score 28-C reactive protein (DAS28CRP) or pain scores.
Conclusions
In this patient group with PsA, MRI bone oedema, erosion and proliferation were all more severe in the AM-form. Bone oedema scores did not correlate with disease activity measures but were closely associated with X-ray joint damage scores. These results suggest that MRI bone oedema may be a pre-erosive feature and that bone damage may not be coupled with joint inflammation in PsA.
doi:10.1186/ar2586
PMCID: PMC2688232  PMID: 19126234

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