Ankylose This! Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis

Friday, February 24, 2006

Faking AS, or just not looking sick enough

A Taiwanese pop star is being investigated over whether he faked illness to avoid compulsory military service. Jay Chou received an exemption in 1999 based on a diagnosis of -- I bet you saw this one coming -- ankylosing spondylitis. "Chou, 27, has been seen on TV programs and movies to have engaged in highly strenuous physical activities. ... A medical expert said the patients of such spinal a disease normally show no obvious physical signs on appearance. But it is necessary for them to maintain proper physical exercises in order to prevent the continuous deterioration of the conditions."

I guess the Taiwanese government is going after pop stars who try to welch on the draft, but, leaving aside the question of whether or not Chou is faking, I'm a little nervous. After all, we rarely look sick enough to have special accommodations made for us. Those of us with AS don't necessarily look as frail as we feel, and are frequently more active than people with crippling arthritic conditions are expected to be (mind you, that's because we have to be). But on the other hand, that's what might make it a good alibi. I hope the question is whether Chou is faking it, not whether AS is prima facie evidence of malingering -- Lord knows I've seen enough of the latter in my time.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Research group gets $2.5 million

The Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada (SPARCC) is the recipient of the Arthritis Society's first National Research Initiative grant, the Society announced in a press release last week. The grant, worth C$2.5 million, will go towards work on improving the diagnosis and management of ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. From the release:

"SPARCC is a dynamic team of health investigators from across Canada who have already been involved in breakthrough research pioneering the use of MRI for arthritis, in genetic discovery, and in the use of ground-breaking biological therapies for patients with inflammatory arthritis," said Dr. Walter Maksymowych. "We plan to adopt a new interactive model of research in which patients become active participants in the design and execution of the research plan. Our aim is to set a new benchmark for research into chronic diseases in Canada."

Maksymowych is at the University of Alberta, where, luckily for me, I was a graduate student at the time I was diagnosed with AS -- the fact that active AS research was going on at my own university was no doubt a good thing as far as my care and treatment was concerned.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

big swim for arthritis

Foresters BIG Swim for Arthritis