Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Really an Autoimmune Disease?
Conventional wisdom believes that Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an RA autoimmune disease in which the body's defense system responds to a "false alarm" and attacks the joints. It is debated which part of the joint is actually involved. Some believe that the synovium is attacked. Others argue that the collagen is assaulted. The argument is purely academic, however, because the cause of the disease remains unknown to researchers.
It is no secret that over the past four decades, RA research has often been driven by the pharmaceutical industry rather than by disinterested researchers. This was particularly so in the 1970s and 1980s, with the focus on NSAIDs — drugs that do not alter the course of RA at all. The same mistake was repeated with anti-rheumatic drugs — researching combinations of expensive drugs to achieve minor goals. And then again, the infamous COX-2 drugs represented by Vioxx — doing more harm than good.
We believe it's time to accept the fact that attempts to control inflammatory arthritis have been a total failure! Isn't it time to change the goal of RA research from CONTROL to CURE?
From a broader perspective, this is not a problem confined to RA research. Current medicine research typically puts the emphasis on suppressing symptoms rather than addressing the root causes. And then, in a vicious circle, patients often end up taking more drugs to counter the side effects of original treatment.
In order to find an effective treatment for RA, we believe that researchers must completely change their notion of disease. We believe that it's a waste of time to create more sophisticated names for different combination of symptoms. There are already too many "diseases" for doctors to spell and pronounce.
As the Chinese discovered four thousand years ago, " if you don't find the disease in youngsters, it's about weak metabolism."