Leading the way to a cure

Lupus Research Update: 2011 Volume 2

Volume 1, 2011 - Online Edition | In This Issue

Grasping an Understanding of Lupus in Children >
Pediatric Specialists offer Insights into Treating Lupus >
Faces of Lupus: A Mother’s Perspective >
New Technology Offers New Hope >
The ALR Announces New TIL Grantees >
Lupus News Corner >

Pediatric Specialists offer Insights into Treating Lupus

With their extensive experience in pediatric autoimmune diseases, Dr. Alexa Adams and Dr. Emma MacDermott are experts in treating children with lupus. Both doctors are emphatic that early diagnosis is vital.

The sooner the disease is diagnosed, the less likely major systemic damage will occur. But that is easier said than done. Dr. Adams explains: “The major difficulty in early diagnosis is that there isn’t just one test for lupus. Also, indications of lupus — fever, rashes, hair loss, headaches — are most commonly the presentation of something else.”

It takes persistence on the part of pediatricians and an awareness of the possibility of lupus. “The biggest challenge for physicians is thinking of the disease in the first place,” says Dr. Adams.

 Children with lupus are most commonly diagnosed at about age 10, which can be especially hard for parents. “Nobody ever wants to hear that something is wrong with their child,” Dr. Adams shares. That’s why it is important for pediatricians to develop bonds with the whole family. “As pediatric rheumatologists, we have relationships with our patients — but we also have relationships with their families. Each family is different and there is no one-way of reaching out to them,” added Dr. MacDermott.

Although the arsenal of drugs available for people of any age with lupus is the same, extra care must be given to children. The concern about using steroids — one of the most common treatments for lupus — is that it can have effects not only on the strength of bones but it can also retard growth.

ALR-funded researchers find it rewarding to work elbow-to-elbow with doctors like Adams and MacDermott who each year see further proof that research and practice go hand-in-hand. Dr. MacDermott adds “It is very exciting for doctors to participate in bringing the fruits of scientific studies from the lab bench to the bedside.”

On a more personal note, Dr. MacDermott explains why it is so important that she, Dr. Adams, and the ALR work so diligently in pediatric lupus: “Any chronic illness that arises early in life has the potential for a long period of impact that can change the whole outlook of the child — it’s not just physical growth, but the perspective on life. The burden of lupus greatly adds to the already difficult process of growing up and finding one’s place in the world.”

Dr. Alexa B. Adams and Dr. Emma J. MacDermott are Pediatric Rheumatologists at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC.

1.5 million

people in the U.S. have Lupus.

172 million

dollars committed to lupus research by the Lupus Research Alliance.

We're walking across the United States to raise awareness and funds for lupus research.


Show your support by visiting the Lupus Research Alliance online store. Discover the perfect gift, or prepare for a walk with our selection of apparel and accessories.

Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software