For the 1.5 million Americans with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the cause of their condition is becoming clearer and clearer. New research is showing a link between gut bacteria and RA, giving doctors more information for predicting, preventing, and treating the disease.
Dr. Veena Taneja, an immunologist at Mayo Clinic's Center for Individualized Medicine, recently published two studies discussing this probable link.
One of the studies looked at biomarkers — substances that signify disease — that could predict someone’s susceptibility to developing RA. Dr. Taneja’s team noted rare gut bacteria that differ in healthy people versus people with RA.
“Using genomic sequencing technology, we were able to pin down some gut microbes that were normally rare and of low abundance in healthy individuals, but expanded in patients with rheumatoid arthritis,” she said.
Using this research, Dr. Taneja said, scientists can conduct further studies and construct a