Dietary n-3 fats and outcomes in early-onset rheumatoid arthritis [ 2001 - 2005 ]

Also known as: Altering the type of dietary fats to achieve benefits in rheumatoid arthritis

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Leslie Cleland (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Susanna Proudman Prof Michael James Prof Robert Gibson

Brief description There is considerable evidence that positive health benefits flow from increasing the dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. Benefits are seen in rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory disorders and heart disease. Previous studies of rheumatoid arthritis and dietary omega-3 fats had a common design which probably reduced the magnitude of the beneficial dietary effects. Therefore, a 'second generation' study is needed which addresses these common design issues in order to establish optimal conditions for the use of dietary omega-3 fats in therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. The current proposal will address the previous design shortcomings by changing the background diet, measuring functional disability and joint damage as well as symptoms, starting treatment in early disease before joint damage has occurred, and by regulating concurrent drug use. The study will also evaluate a novel blood test that indicates the effect of advice to increase dietary omega-3 fats upon omega-3 nutritional status. If this nutritional index correlates with more favourable outcomes, a base will have been established for guiding treatment with omega-3 fats in routine clinical situations. This study is important because dietary treatment in rheumatoid arthritis: (a) offers sufferers with rheumatoid arthritis a more active role in the life long management of their disease. (b) has no on-going cost to the government health budget, and in fact, has the potential to decrease treatment costs in rheumatoid arthritis considerably (c) has wider applicability, e.g. for prevention and treatment of other inflammatory conditions and heart disease (d) needs to be tested with modern treatment protocols that involve multiple therapies started early in the course of rheumatoid arthritis, before irreversible impairment and disability has occurred (e) requires a nutritional index to guide treatment (f) must be evidence based.

Funding Amount $AUD 453,693.44

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Extended

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