Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Despite burden, Sjögren's syndrome may not impede function

Date:
February 4, 2014
Source:
Tufts University
Summary:
People living with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, appear to function at a level comparable to their healthier peers, according to a cross-sectional study. The study reveals that people living with Sjögren’s perceive significant decline in cognitive, psychological and physical function. Nonetheless, despite the burdens of the disease, levels of function approach that of healthy controls.

People living with Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth, appear to function at a level comparable to their healthier peers, according to a cross-sectional study published online in advance of print in Clinical Rheumatology. The study by clinicians and researchers at Tufts University reveals that people living with Sjögren's perceive significant decline in cognitive, psychological and physical function. Nonetheless, despite the burdens of the disease, levels of function approach that of healthy controls.

Related Articles


The National Institutes of Health estimates that Sjögren's syndrome affects between one and four million people in the United States, the majority of whom are women over the age of 40. Although Sjögren's primarily causes dry mouth and dry eyes, the authors of the study note that at least 20% of patients report cognitive, psychological, and physical symptoms over time, such as difficulties with attention, concentration, memory, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and sleep disturbance.

Previous studies have estimated how common these symptoms are for people with Sjögren's, although it is unclear the extent to which they can be attributed to the disease itself. The new study compared 37 people living with Sjögren's to 37 people without an autoimmune disorder, matched for age, gender, and level of education. The individuals in these two groups were tested to see how they rated themselves at one point in time, compared to objective measures of cognitive, psychological, and physical health.

The researchers found that people with Sjögren's reported higher levels of cognitive impairments such as attention, dexterity, memory loss; psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety; and physical impairment such as fatigue and sleep disturbance when compared to their healthier counterparts. However, only two of the objective measures showed any statistically significant difference in measurable function between the two groups, relating to cognitive health, specifically attention and memory.

One test, which assessed attention and memory, identified a decrease in free recall, or the ability to recollect and recite members of a list, among people with Sjögren's compared to their peers. Another test assessing attention, perceptual speed, motor speed, visual scanning, and memory revealed decreased motor speed among people with Sjögren's.

"Our results suggest that people living with Sjögren's still are able to maintain a reasonably high level of function, despite their perception of declining function over time. Sjögren's can interfere with daily functioning and the burden of illness is very real. Nonetheless, it is apparent that even with these interferences people can compensate and function reasonably well," said co-principal investigator and first author Lynn C. Epstein, M.D., a psychiatrist and clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Epstein, for many years an associate dean at Brown University School of Medicine, is former president of the American Medical Women's Association, and Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

"More in-depth studies are needed in order to fully understand these findings. The next steps would be to study how actual and perceived function change over time," said senior author David J. Greenblatt, M.D., Louis Lasagna Professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Tufts University School of Medicine. Greenblatt is also a member of the graduate program faculty in Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts.

"Patients with Sjögren's experience a range of symptoms that call for a multidisciplinary approach to research and care. This study enables us to respond more directly to patients' concerns about their function and reminds patients and researchers alike that there is more room to investigate their experience of the disease," said co-principal investigator Athena Papas, D.M.D, Ph.D., the Erling Johansen Professor of Dental Research at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tufts University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lynn C. Epstein, Gina Masse, Jerold S. Harmatz, Tammy M. Scott, Athena S. Papas, David J. Greenblatt. Characterization of cognitive dysfunction in Sjögren’s syndrome patients. Clinical Rheumatology, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s10067-013-2453-6

Cite This Page:

Tufts University. "Despite burden, Sjögren's syndrome may not impede function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204101444.htm>.
Tufts University. (2014, February 4). Despite burden, Sjögren's syndrome may not impede function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204101444.htm
Tufts University. "Despite burden, Sjögren's syndrome may not impede function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204101444.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) — Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) — Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins