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In This Issue
SRF Webinar Series
Sun Protection and Connective Tissue Disease
RheumShorts: Fibromyalgia, Scleroderma, Spondylitis
Health Insurance Claim Denied?
Emerging Role of Epigenetics
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SRF Webinar Series  

Next up in the SRF webinar series, Dr. Francesco Boin will present Diagnosis and Early Management of Scleroderma live on Thursday, August 21 at 1:00 PM EDT from The Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center. His session will take viewers from diagnosis through management of complications that impact the newly diagnosed as well as those who have been living with the disease for many years.

Register here: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/q1qvpw5wsdxc&eom 


Dr. Boin is an expert physician-scientist. His research focuses on the cellular biology of immune cells and the mechanisms of autoimmunity in scleroderma. His goal is to identify reliable laboratory tools that can help investigate the causes of scleroderma, effectively measure disease activity, monitor treatments and help predict clinical outcomes in scleroderma patients.


The SRF webinar series provides the scleroderma community with access to leading experts in the field and information to better managing the disease.

Sun Protection and Connective Tissue Disease


As we spend more time outdoors, it is important to protect against the strong summer rays. Sunlight contains harmful ultraviolet rays that increase the risk of skin cancer, accelerate aging of the skin, and flare connective tissue disease.


Sunlight that reaches the Earth's surface contains two types of ultraviolet (UV) light, both A and B.

  • UVB light is more damaging, causing sunburns and altering DNA in the body's cells.
  • Sunlight contains about 10-20 times more UVA light, which penetrates the skin more deeply.

Both forms of UV radiation cause skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. Tanning beds also produce UVA and UVB radiation, often at much higher levels than the sun.  

Read more... 

RheumShorts: Fibromyalgia, Scleroderma, Spondylitis


News in rheumatology this week included water therapy for fibromyalgia, Gleevec for the often-lethal interstitial lung disease in scleroderma, and a temporary setback for apremilast in ankylosing spondylitis.

  • Lung function was stabilized with imatinib in a large proportion of patients with systemic sclerosis interstitial lung disease unresponsive to cyclophosphamide.

 Read more... 

Health Insurance Claim Denied? Appeal!


Few things are scarier than racking up medical bills and then learning that your health insurance company won't pay.

It's a nightmare that could panic any policyholder. But before you worry about sinking into a black hole of medical debt, know that federal law offers a way to appeal.


"When a claim is denied, consumers should not view that as the end of the story," says Katherine Vukadin, an assistant professor at Texas Southern University's Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston.


The Affordable Care Act, or ACA -- the law popularly known as Obamacare -- gives a policyholder new rights to demand that an insurer reconsider any health claim denial.


And then, if your plan reviews the case and still won't budge, you can appeal to an independent third party, which will make a decision the insurer must accept.

Don't assume the process will be easy. "Appealing takes time and energy, on top of battling the underlying illness," Vukadin says. Read more... 

Emerging Role of Epigenetics in Systemic Sclerosis Pathogenesis


Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) is a connective tissue disease of unknown aetiology characterized by autoimmunity, inflammation, vascular abnormalities and ultimately fibrosis. Although great advances have been made in determining the molecular mechanisms of disease pathogenesis over the last decade, aided by new genetic screens, no current specific disease-modifying treatment is yet available.


Epigenetics is defined as heritable changes that are not due to changes in DNA sequence, and there is at present intense research effort to understand the basic mechanisms of epigenetic regulation and how these impact diseases. Epigenetic modifications and dysregulation are associated now with autoimmune disease, inflammatory disease and cancer. Read abstract here...   

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