Brief in English from Bechterew-Brief No. 78

Professor A. M. KHAN in his report on slowly acting anti-rheumatic drugs in severe ankylosing spondylitis, discusses the treatment of severe AS with sulfasalazine, gold salts, D-penicillamine, cyclosporin A and methotrexate and reviews the results of studies on this subject by other authors. The article is a patient-adapted translation of his editorial in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology in 1998.

Martina KUHN, a student of sports sciences at the university of Erlangen, wrote for us a summary of her examination work on the effect of sports in ankylosing spondylitis sufferers. She regards the necessity of exercises and training in general and discusses special advantages and possible adaptations of swimming, cycling, hiking, walking, cross-country skiing, and volleyball. These forms of sports are illustrated by photographs contributed by our membership showing sports activities in our DVMB branches.

My article on nitrogen monoxide – both environmental poison and remedy, reminds at last year's medical Nobel prize having been given for the detection of the important role of NO in the human body. Not only does the immune system use it to kill bacteria and other pathogens. It controls also the heart and blood vessels. In AS patients, NO is observed to be produced 1½ times as much as in other persons. It acts as inflammation mediator and simultaneously protects the mucous membrane by stimulating the blood circulation. Pharmaceutical laboratories try to invent improved anti-inflammatory drugs by constructing an NSAR which releases NO in the alimentary tract.

The article by Karin TIMMERS giving practicle tips for mothers with rheumatic diseases has been translated from the newsletter "in beweging" of the Nederlandse bond van verenigingen van patiënten met reumatische aandoeningen. The article recommends, for instance, beds the height of which can be adapted and which can be opened at one side, thus making it possible that the child can go to bed on his/her own at an early age. She recommends a changing-table without drawers where the mother can sit at, and a changing technique where the baby is rolled from the old to the new nappy without the need of lifting it up.

Again translated from the newsletter "in beweging" of the Nederlandse bond van verenigingen van patiënten met reumatische aandoeningen is the article on heart and lung problems in ankylosing spondylitis by Aty VAN GALEN.

In our column on international cooperation, Victor OSIRSKIJ, the founder of the AS society in the Ukraine, describes the life in this society. Since many companies have not paid salaries to their employees in months, members of this AS society help each other with fruits and vegetables grown in their garden and even by loaning each other money.

DVMB News:
DVMB invites tenders for its research prize for the year 2000. The prize (combined with 7 500 DM donated by a pharmaceutical compamy) is offered for the best scientific work in the field of ankylosing spondylitis written in German language. Papers have to be submitted by 29 February 2000 and may be unpublished or published after 29 May 1998 (the deadline of our last research prize). Details are published in this issue as well as in scientific medical journals.

This issue contains the DVMB board's 1998 annual report. Until the end of 1998, our membership increased to 15 537 including 14 463 patient members (= 176 patient members per million inhabitants). The number of local branches with weekly physiotherapy has increased to 364 by the end of 1998. The average distance between two neighbouring branches is 28 km in West Germany and 49 km in the East, where the need to catch up is still high.

E. Feldtkeller