Sjögren's Syndrome and Antibodies

 

A talk by Dr. James Gray, honorary research fellow from Australia, specialising in Rheumatology at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

 

 

James began by giving a broad picture of Sjogrens trying to make it less technical to understand.  The British Society of Rheumatology now has  a definition of Sjogrens – written for medical students but interesting. 

 

James talked about the causes of Sjogrens which are still mainly unclear.

  • Whether it is a primary or secondary illness.

 

  • It can develop quite differently in different people, being more or less serious symptoms.              
  • Does a rise in anti bodies cause Sjogrens or is it something else, an infection or disease,  which causes the rise in antibodies to cause Sjogrens.                                                                             
  • Is it genetically disposed? A virus that then becomes a permanent disease.                                    
  • White blood cells attack the salivary glands – but the more modern theory is ‘why do they’ Maybe the glands make the attack?                                                                                                
  • James went on to say that although Sjogrens patients has many more Ro & La antibodies he promoted the idea that this may not be too relevant or cause any damage.  He did go onto suggest that there is a theory that the damaged B cells may go onto cause more serious problems in the future, ie lymphoma.                                                                                              
  • Aids to help with dry eyes are essential to help with hygiene and actual sight.                               
  • DISCUSSION 
  • There was some discussion on how the medical profession could take needs of Sjogrens sufferers forward.                                                                                                                        
  • It was suggested that an immunologist could oversee all Sjogrens symptoms at Addenbrookes rather than different patient seeing different people.  

 

  • Many of those present felt they had little amount of support from the medical profession.

 

  • There will only be small steps forward!!

 

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© Carol Burns