Pre-Interview with Dr. Skaggs

Pre-Interview with Dr. Skaggs

Dr. Brian Skaggs received an Arthritis National Research Foundation grant in 2011-2012 for his work in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and how “good cholesterol” affects patients of both diseases. Arthritis Now will be sitting down with Dr. Skaggs, currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, and will discuss his current work and why he decided to pursue autoimmune research.

For more info on the research ANRF funded Dr. Skaggs for, check out his research page.

Dr. Timothy Niewold - Arthritis Now
Brian Skaggs, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
University of California, Los Angeles

Do you have a question for Dr. Skaggs?

For a chance to have your question featured on the show, submit it in the comment section below. Dr. Skaggs will be answering a question from an Arthritis Now viewer during the interview. Stay tuned!

Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

  • Avatar
    Annette McKinnon
    Posted at 18:27h, 30 January Reply

    Can you give us some information about good cholesterol and RA? Do you think a poor diet increases severity and inflammation in RA?

  • Avatar
    Janice DeWitt
    Posted at 19:11h, 31 January Reply

    Tumeric, ginger, cinnamon are known for anti inflammatory properties. When someone cannot consume these, (due to other illnesses), what can be consumed to help lower the c-reactive protein blood levels?

    Thank you,

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    J. Saunders
    Posted at 19:30h, 31 January Reply

    Do you believe there will ever be a cure for lupus/SLE? It is such a bizarre illness and it can wear one down physically and mentally. Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Posted at 19:56h, 31 January Reply

    Dr., do you have any advice for those of us who live in remote areas with little access to specialists such as rheumatologists? I can afford to travel to see one only once a year, and my primary care facility keeps losing general doctors, so I seem to see someone new each time. Thank you for considering this message!

  • Avatar
    Brian Skaggs
    Posted at 23:37h, 06 February Reply

    Thank you for asking good questions. Kyle asked Annette and Janice’s questions in the interview. Research certainly suggests a good diet is beneficial for preventing inflammation in patients who have autoimmune diseases as well as in the general population. A diet high in all of the ‘good stuff’ – vegetables, fruit, fiber, unsaturated fats, the right proportion of proteins and complex carbohydrates – probably still isn’t enough, though. Autoimmune diseases are very complex, and diet plays a role along with genes, environment, and probably other aspects nobody understands at this point. Until we learn more about the exact causes of autoimmune disease and heart disease, the best we can do is to improve the things that we can control – exercise and other healthy choices in controlling your environment (no smoking, getting enough sleep, diet, etc.) are important in lowering inflammation, CRP, and hopefully flares and advancement of disease.

    J. Saunders’ question is one that physicians and researchers studying SLE wrestle with every day. Dr. Niewold’s answer in an earlier interview was great – SLE is essentially a unique disease in every patient, and researchers and physicians are realizing that to truly cure SLE, individual treatment plans based on molecular testing seem to be the long-term solution to curing SLE. There have been huge leaps forward in curing very specific types of cancer that are caused by one or two genetic events, and these advancements will be used by rheumatologists to cure much more complicated diseases like SLE and RA. We are trying to create the foundation for a cure for these diseases with the research we are doing, and ANRF has been very supportive to researchers who do this kind of work.

    Mary’s question is also a crucial one to patients who have difficulty obtaining proper care. I do not see patients, so I asked Dr. Maureen McMahon at UCLA what she would recommend. She said, if at all possible, to try to establish a relationship with a primary care physician that has been at your clinic for a few years who is comfortable in setting up correspondence with a specialist who is an expert in treating your disease. This is a difficult situation for many patients, as there are SLE patients that Dr. McMahon sees who have to travel 300 miles or more to get regular treatment at UCLA, and I hope you can find a stable primary care physician.

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