Survey to Study How Blood Type Affects Risk in Autoimmune Diseases Seeking AS Patients

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by Patricia Inacio PhD |

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A large-scale survey is underway for patients with a definite diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis and who know their blood type. The survey will allow researchers to determine whether blood type may be linked to a higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases.

Early this year, the Scleroderma Education project conducted a large-scale, anonymous, self-report survey where it asked patients with a diagnosis of systemic scleroderma to answer to two questions: What was their blood type, and in what country were they born?

The results are still being analyzed, but preliminary data clearly seems to suggest that blood type distribution is significantly different in patients affected by this autoimmune disease when compared to the general population.

Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, led by Edward Harris, founder and CEO of the Scleroderma Education Project, aim to assess whether a pattern of blood type distribution is also detected in patients with other autoimmune diseases.

They are extending the initial survey to four additional conditions: lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Patients who wish to participate in the survey need to know their blood type (A, B, AB, or O) and RH factor (positive or negative).

Individuals formerly diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis are encouraged to participate in the survey, but not patients with either enteropathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, or undifferentiated spondyloarthritis.

The study, “Blood Type Distribution in Autoimmune Diseases: A Large-Scale, Self-Report, Anonymous Survey,” will allow researchers to collect data to evaluate whether the distribution of blood types in each of the five autoimmune diseases analyzed — systemic sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and ankylosing spondylitis — is the same as in the general population, and whether blood type distribution differs among these different autoimmune diseases.

Also, to ensure that statistical analysis can be performed and that biased or that inaccurate reporting of diagnosis or blood type information is minimal, the survey requires a large patient population, with at least 1,000 respondents per disease.

Understating how blood types may be associated with disease susceptibility or resistance will allow researchers to delve deeper into potential common mechanisms underlying these autoimmune diseases, which may be useful to develop better therapies.

If you wish to participate in the ankylosing spondylitis survey, please visit this link.

The study will be conducted under the supervision of Edward Harris, MS, Department of Medicine, and Miroslav Malkovsky MD, PhD, professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Any questions about the surveys can be emailed to Harris at [email protected].