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SOURCE: National Institutes of Health, U.S.Department of Health and Human Services: Link to NIH
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Advances in Lupus Research

Scientists know that systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease, and recent studies have begun to unravel some of the elements involved. Genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors are all believed to play roles in causing lupus. Much research is being conducted to understand these factors and how they work together.

Epidemiological studies may yield further clues about the cause of lupus.

For example, SLE is more prevalent in women, especially those in the reproductive years, than in men. And while people of all ethnicities get lupus, the incidence rate for Asian women (particularly those of Chinese and Filipino descent) and African American women is three to four times higher than it is for Caucasian women.

African American women also tend to develop the disease at a younger age, develop more serious complications, and have a higher mortality rate from the disease than do Caucasian women.

Researchers are trying to find out why lupus is more common in these populations.

Health professionals continue to search for better ways to care for people with lupus.

Understanding what causes the disease and why certain people are more likely to develop it may one day lead to promising new treatments for, or even prevention of, lupus.

In the meantime, researchers continue to look for new treatments and ways to modify existing ones so they can diminish or eliminate side effects and improve the quality of life for people who have lupus.

During the last 15 years, researchers have made a tremendous amount of progress in lupus research.

The number of studies on this disease has increased exponentially, and most researchers believe that answers to some of the key questions are close at hand.

This chapter highlights some of the recent research advances in lupus and provides an overview of the direction of current research.



















Source: National Institutes of Health, U.S.Dept of Health and Human Services



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