The Arthritis Newsletter

Winter 2017

ROAR 2017: Patient Voice Has Become a Prominent Fixture in Arthritis Research

By Katie LeBlanc, PhD, Holistic Nutritionist


At this year’s ROAR (Reaching Out with Arthritis Research) forum, it was clear that the patient voice has become a prominent fixture in arthritis research, especially at Arthritis Research Canada.


Topics of the forum, held Oct. 21st in Vancouver, ranged from the benefits of exercise, to patient-focused apps, and current research on medication safety. For all involved, there were many real-world applications to take home at the end of the day, with the message that we, as patients, have more opportunities available to us now more than ever to manage our arthritis.


One of the major themes of ROAR 2017 was the importance of exercise and regular stretch breaks. Current research indicates that sitting for extended periods of time can be just as harmful as smoking. Between the presentations, audience members were given plenty of opportunities to learn great stretch movements from our own APAB (Arthritis Patient Advisory Board) member and physiotherapist, Karen Tsui.


Presentations by Dr. Linda Li and Cheryl Koehn stressed the importance of movement for both joint health and brain health. Something as simple as walking around the block a few times per day can have benefits for our body, which is great to know for those days when the pain is too much to walk or exercise vigorously.


Other important topics focused on patient-centered apps to help with arthritis management. Dr. Paul Fortin and Cheryl Koehn both highlighted apps that can help with managing Lupus and other forms of autoimmune conditions, respectively. While not currently available, the Lupus app overviewed by Dr. Fortin should be available to the public by the end of 2018.


Dr. Diane Lacaille had some important research to share about the lifespan for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Essentially, research found that mortality in RA has improved in recent years, such that for people diagnosed after the year 2000, mortality did not differ from the general population over the first five years of their disease.


The patient voice was given prominence in presentations by Dr. Clayon Hamilton and APAB member Kelly English. Dr. Hamilton outlined the benefits of working with patients during the research process and the valuable insight patients can bring. Kelly was able to shed more light on patient engagement in research and in her role in APAB, showing us the many beneficial ‘hats’ she wears as an engaged patient.


If you’re interested in attending a future ROAR, either in person or via the web, follow ARC and APAB online. You can take it one step further and help build next year’s ROAR by becoming an APAB member. For more information click here.


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