NIAMS Update June 2009

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Update - An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleague
June 18, 2009
The NIAMS Update is a monthly digest published for those interested in the latest scientific news and resources on diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin. We encourage further dissemination of this resource.
Contact Information

Office of Communications and Public Liaison

Janet S. Austin, Ph.D.

Melanie M. Martinez, M.P.A.
Public Liaison Officer

Trish Reynolds, R.N., M.S.
Media Liaison

NIAMS Health Publications Now Available in Audio Format  

NIAMS Health Publications Now Available in Audio Format
As part of the Institute’s continuous efforts to expand the access to reliable science-based health information, NIAMS now offers several of its easy-to-read materials in MP3 audio format. NIAMS collaborated with the American Foundation for the Blind to produce high-quality files that can be downloaded from the NIAMS Web site. Visitors can download and listen to recordings on a variety of NIAMS health topics such as back pain, atopic dermatitis and osteoarthritis. Currently, 29 audio publications are available and the Institute is considering adding more titles.

NIAMS Announces New Multicultural Outreach and Information Web Page
The new Multicultural Outreach and Information landing page on the NIAMS Web site was created to highlight in a single location the Institute’s work with multicultural communities. It also serves as an introduction to NIAMS’ rich multicultural outreach portfolio.

The homepage offers access to a wealth of NIAMS and National Institutes of Health (NIH) resources, as well as information from other government agencies involved in multicultural outreach.

Bhattacharyya Joins NIAMS Orthopaedic Research Program
Augmenting NIAMS’ efforts in the area of outcomes research, Timothy Bhattacharyya, M.D., has joined the Clinical and Investigative Orthopaedics Section of the Intramural Research Program. A staff orthopaedic surgeon at Bethesda’s Suburban Hospital since 2008, Dr. Bhattacharyya will continue to see patients and conduct surgery at that facility while working part-time for NIAMS.

Scientists Discover New Genetic Immune Disorder in Children
Your immune system plays an important role in your health—it protects you against viruses, bacteria and other toxins that can cause disease. In autoinflammatory diseases, however, the immune system goes awry, causing unprovoked and dangerous inflammation. Now, researchers from NIAMS, part of NIH, and other institutions have discovered a new autoinflammatory syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects children around the time of birth. The findings appear in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

NIAMS Researchers Identify a Protein that Helps Govern Immune Cell Differentiation
Scientists at NIAMS have discovered that the protein Lyn kinase, expressed in immune cells called basophils, helps control the way immune cells called T helper cells differentiate in mice. This ability to govern cell differentiation makes basophils and their cell-signaling pathways possible targets for future therapeutic strategies in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other immune-mediated diseases. The study recently appeared in the journal Immunity.

Back Pain-Expectations Drive Patient Decisions
When it comes to back pain caused by herniated disks, many patients have strong opinions about whether surgery is right for them. But what influences those opinions? Researchers funded by NIAMS recently looked into some possible answers.

Study Finds Unexpected Bacterial Diversity on Human Skin
The health of our skin-one of the body's first lines of defense against illness and injury-depends upon the delicate balance between our own cells and the millions of bacteria and other one-celled microbes that live on its surface. To better understand this balance, NIH researchers have set out to explore the skin's microbiome, which is all of the DNA-or genomes-of all of the microbes that inhabit human skin. Their initial analysis, published in the journal Science, reveals that our skin is home to a much wider array of bacteria than previously thought.

NIH Announces New Program to Develop Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases
NIH is launching the first integrated, drug development pipeline to produce new treatments for rare and neglected diseases. The $24-million program jumpstarts a trans-NIH initiative called the Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases program, or TRND.

photo of Rocky Tuan, Ph.D., Chief of the Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch, NIAMS
Rocky Tuan, Ph.D., Chief of the Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch, NIAMS
NIH Medline Plus: Healthy Joints for a Lifetime
Remarkable advances are being made every day in the world of orthopedic health and disease treatment-our bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and related connective tissues. From reducing the crippling pain of arthritis to the miracle of knee and hip replacements, "musculoskeletal" research is changing how well-and how long-we can live an active, healthy life.

Public Comments Sought on Regulations for Financial Conflicts of Interest in Federally Funded Research
NIH is seeking comments from the public on possible changes to the federal regulations regarding Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which Public Health Service (PHS) Funding Is Sought (42 C.F.R. Part 50, Subpart F) and Responsible Prospective Contractors (45 C.F.R. Part 94). The existing regulations issued in 1995 were designed to promote objectivity in research by establishing standards to ensure that there is no reasonable expectation that the design, conduct or reporting of research funded under PHS grants or cooperative agreements will be biased by any conflicting financial interest on the part of the researcher.

Meetings and Events
NIAMS Annual Scientific Planning Retreat
NIAMS held its annual Scientific Planning Retreat on April 6 and 7, 2009. Topics of discussion included stem cells, B cells in autoimmune diseases and approaches for effectively identifying and managing high-quality clinical trials at NIAMS. A fourth discussion explored scientific challenges that, if addressed in the next 5 to 8 years, would significantly advance NIAMS mission areas. These discussions provided a platform for examining needs, gaps and opportunities in the extramural research community. One-page overviews and summary PowerPoint slides of each topic are provided below and include the key questions that were addressed during each session.

Stem Cell
B Cells in Autoimmune Diseases
NIAMS Clinical Trials

AAOS/ORS Oncology Symposium Proceedings Published
The findings of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)/Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) 2008 Research Symposium, “Molecular Biology and Therapeutics in Musculoskeletal Oncology,” were published in March 2009 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS). The symposium, the first AAOS research event to focus solely on musculoskeletal oncology, was funded in part by NIAMS..

Federal News
Lupus Increases Direct Health Care Costs and Loss of Work Productivity
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a debilitating disease that often robs young people of being fully productive during their work years. Now, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have determined just how much lupus contributes to increased health care costs and lost work productivity. The study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Patients Actively Engaged in Their Health Are More Likely to Adhere to Physical Therapy After Spine Surgery
After patients undergo surgery for degenerative conditions of the lumbar spine, the North American Spine Society recommends that they have physical therapy to strengthen weakened back muscles. Richard L. Skolasky, Sc.D., and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University found that the level of patient activation-defined as an individual's propensity to engage in positive health behavior-is associated with better attendance and engagement in physical therapy. The study was supported by AHRQ.

Workshops and Lectures
NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS)
NIH's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) offers lectures every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10, on the NIH campus. Renowned scientists from around the globe present research on a variety of topics. The lectures are CME certified, open to the public and available live via webcast.

Upcoming lectures:

Karen Hsiao Ashe, Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, University of Minnesota "Molecular Mechanisms of Memory Loss in Alzheimer's Disease" June 24, 2009

June Shorttakes
A compilation of news from NIAMS that is published three times a year. Just scan these “shorttakes” for information on what’s happening at NIAMS, or access the complete articles for viewing or use in your own newsletter or other publication.

NIH Public Bulletin
Read about the latest public events, activities and health information resources from NIH in the latest issue of the NIH Public Bulletin.

NIH News in Health
Read practical health information in NIH News in Health, which is reviewed by NIH's medical experts and is based on research conducted either by NIH's own scientists or by our grantees at universities and medical schools around the country.

Breaks, Tears and Strains: Preventing Sports Injuries
You've heard about the many health benefits of physical activity. On top of improving your fitness, exercising and playing sports also can help boost self-esteem, coordination and self-discipline-particularly for children. But these benefits can come at a price: sports injuries. Fortunately, you can prevent many sports injuries by taking some simple precautions.
¿Qué es el pénfigo? (What is Pemphigus?)
A new Esenciales publication is available from NIAMS. Esenciales is a series of easy-to-read fact sheets in Spanish that describe different diseases of the bones, muscles, joints and skin, along with their causes and treatment options. The fact sheets also provide information on current research. Find this new fact sheet, along with more Esenciales titles and other Spanish-language materials, on the NIAMS Web site.

Funding Announcements
NIH Roadmap Initiative Announcements

Pilot-Scale Libraries (PSL) for High-Throughput Screening (P41)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: September 4, 2009
Application Receipt Date: October 1, 2009

NIAMS Research Announcements

Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers (U54)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: October 13, 2009
Application Receipt Date: November 10, 2009

Other Research Announcements

NIH Clinical Trial Planning Grant Program (R34)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Multiple receipt dates, see announcement.

If you would like to review information about funding opportunities more frequently than our monthly updates allow, see the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts. This is the primary source for information about NIH funding opportunities. You can also request a weekly Table of Contents from the NIH Guide.