Other joints can be affected, but not usually the back .
As well as joint problems, people with RA can experience fatigue, fevers, and problems with their skin, nerves, heart and blood vessels, spleen, lungs, eyes and kidneys.
*CRP = C-reactive protein, ESR = Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
**Anti-CCP = Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide; RhF = Rheumatoid factor
*DMARD = Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug
Currently, there is no cure, and no strong evidence for any particular diet  or supplements [15–17] although supervised exercise may help [18,19]
New treatment under development at the Bionics Institute
Bionics Institute researchers are developing an electrical medical device for people with rheumatoid arthritis that aims to:
• Provide a drug-free treatment for rheumatoid arthritis using vagus nerve stimulation
• Trigger the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response to reduce inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis
• Give long-term relief from pain and disability without the side effects of drug treatment.
How does it work?
• A tiny electrode array is attached to the vagus nerve just under the diaphragm
• The vagus nerve connects the brain to the gut and controls natural anti-inflammatory processes in the body
• The vagus nerve is stimulated by the electrode array in response to inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis
• The vagus nerve initiates a natural anti-inflammatory response and reduces the pain and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
• The electrode array is powered by a small battery implanted at hip level.
• The battery only needs to be replaced every 10 years ensuring the device provides a set-and-forget treatment
• The treatment causes fewer side effects than medications
Want to support the future of research like this?
Early-stage research for life-changing devices like this is made possible by donations from our supporters.
Your support today could turn the seed of an idea into a new treatment in the future.
This article contains general information relating to a medical condition. Such information is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace medical advice given by your healthcare professional.
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