New Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis article in the British Medical Journal

I was listening to the World service and heard a very interesting programme on Electronic Stimulation of the Vagus Nerve in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
the link is here:
My neighbour who is in her early thirties has just been diagnosed with this awful disease and she was unaware of this new treatment and is going to mention it to her rheumatologist in Lyon.
Maybe this can help someone else?

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It has been around for years as a developing treatment. It’s not yet in common use, just trials. But is showing great potential, so one day!

I have rheumatoid arthritis, and yes it is an awful disease. Chronic and incurable. However, tell her not to read too much rubbish on the internet. The modern treatments are incredible, and anything more than a few year old is out of date. I’ve had it for 11 years now, and the change has been astounding in just that time… My main thoughts are:

The first year is usually the worst. For most of us it won’t always be like that.

Look after yourself, with good healthy diet, exercise and sleep. But do not believe that this diet or that diet will cure you. It won’t. But eating well (lots veg and fish, not too much sugary and fatty food and no highly processed food) will help you tolerate the drugs as well as making you generally healthier.

Obesity is not good with this disease. And smoking is a complete no-no.

And don’t underestimate the emotional shock of being diagnosed.

Develop patience. This can be slow to get under control. It takes 3 months to know if a drug is even working or not. But don’t get downhearted if the first drugs don’t work as there are lots of different ones now.

I am a volunteer and helpline worker for the UK national charity, so any questions happy to help. (The french equivalent is not brilliant I find)


My neighbour, apart from the rheumatoid arthritis, is a very healthy person, active, non-smoker and slim. No alcohol either as it is a contra-indication for her treatment.
I am sure that she would be pleased to take part in any trial that they would run in Lyon.
I used to be on the national helpline for the Endometriosis Society.

I was investigated for RA but fortunately it was decided that it was OA with infamatory components. Is it Verses Arthritis you work for Jane?. I have found them excellent

No, I am a telephone helpline volunteer for NRAS - the other one! But Versus Arthritis is good too, just wider. These days now my RA is well controlled I think my OA is the worst thing as so little can be done ‘till I need surgery! OA is a rubbish disease too.

(Sister has inflammatory osteo of the hand (lost 4 of her DIP joints) and was put on a trial of hydroxy which worked - so still has the other hand)

Has a great chance of living a totally normal life then, once controlled. No longer what it was for Renoir, or Burra, or Edith Piaf.

( I luckily have a rheumatologist who ascribes to latest more relaxed guidelines re alcohol…and for my biologic drugs is not too concerned about unpasteurised food which I would actually find more difficult than alcohol as don’t want to drink very much.)