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Approved Research

Development and validation of an artificial neural network-based risk model for the prediction of cerebrovascular-specific diseases in patients with spondyloarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

Principal Investigator: Professor Ming-Xiang Zou
Approved Research ID: 92344
Approval date: September 8th 2022

Lay summary

Aims: The purpose of the present project is to clarify the effect of spondyloarthritis (SpA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on risk of cerebrovascular-specific diseases (CVSD), as well as to develop and validate a risk model for CVSD prediction in patients with SpA/RA.

Scientific rationale: SpA and RA are chronic systemic autoimmune diseases that primarily affect joints, muscles and surrounding soft tissues. These progressive inflammatory conditions irreversibly damage joints, leading to repeated pain and reduction in physical fitness, which seriously affects the life quality of patients. As the most frequently encountered rheumatic diseases, however, extra-articular manifestations (such as visceral involvement) of SpA and RA are not uncommon in clinical practice and have also drawn wide attention due to their relevance to patients' morbidity and survival. Among them, cardiovascular disease has been a topic of substantial research due to its relatively high incidence rate among SpA/RA patients. For instance, a large body of evidence has demonstrated that SpA and RA are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular event. Mechanistically, previous studies have suggested that endothelial cell dysfunction and formation of atherosclerosis mediated by the inflammatory responses, as well as the use of anti-inflammatory drugs in SpA/RA play a crucial role in cardiovascular disease occurrence. However, the relationship between SpA/RA and CVSD remains to be fully elucidated at present. Considering the similar pathogenetic basis for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, we hypothesize that SpA/RA may likely promote the onset of CVSD event.

Expected duration of project: This project is anticipated to last for three years.

Public health impact: Our project will be helpful in uncovering the exact mechanism of how SpA/RA affects the CVSD occurrence and may also be useful in guiding the preventive intervention and therapeutic optimization of CVSD in patients with SpA/RA.