Smoking is the Foot that steps in the Cinderella Slipper

HLA-DR molecules can be altered genetically in such a sense to lead to the pathway of the so called “Cinderella Slipper” coined by the work of researchers Peter K. Gregerson of the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, Lars Klareskog of the Karolinska Institute, and Robert J. Winchester of Columbia University. They have discovered that having one HLA risk gene coupled with being a smoker will quintuple the risk of developing the autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis — so called the “Foot” that fits into the Cinderella Slipper. Having two HLA risk genes together with being a smoker makes that risk ten times higher in developing Rheumatoid Arthritis when compared to having one risk gene.

For their work, these three researchers have been awarded the 2013 Crafoord prize in polyarthritis research. Watch the video here:

This means that particularly for middle-income countries with high and rising rates of smoking, high population, and high rates of aging, Rheumatoid Arthritis will pose a truly serious problem in the coming future unless preventative mechanisms will come into play concerning smoking, i.e. education campaigns, warning labels, and increased taxation.



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About Adrian Levitsky

Adrian is a Research Technician and Doctoral Student at Karolinska Institutet's ClinTRID department for Inflammatory (Autoimmune) Disease research. He is a blogger for the Silverevolution initiative by ACCESS Health International. He defended his Masters thesis in Global Health at Karolinska and worked together with the CAMbrella project's Swedish team ( in analyzing global key stakeholders of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Traditional Medicine (TM). He has an avid interest in research. Particularly, he wishes to research CAM/TM and promulgate an evidence base for the potential effectiveness of integrative care -- as this communication still is lacking globally. Adrian has a background starting as a pilot at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which later evolved to studying Human Factors Psychology with a drive to understand how man and machine work together. This field often focuses heavily on research and involves testing available theories or finding new solutions to prevent work-related injuries, reduce stress, and emphasize usability/ergonomics. Teaching English in South Korea made him realize the need for innovation and imagination for all school curricula in order to solve today’s dilemmas.

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