April 20, 2017


Letter from Dr. Stephen I. Katz: NIH Resources to Jumpstart and Sustain Your Research Career

Stephen I. Katz

Dear Colleagues,

NIAMS supports research, trains basic and clinical scientists and disseminates information to improve the Nation’s health and reduce illness and disability. Last summer, I highlighted tools for learning about the tax-payer funded projects that we support. As noted below, NIH also has many resources for investigators while planning their work, applying for funding, conducting studies and sharing results.

Read more.

Image: Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.


Understanding Immune Cells and Inflammation: Opening New Treatment Avenues for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Other Conditions

Depiction of tofacitinib's target, the Jak3 kinase domain.

The Impact of NIH Research: Our Stories highlights important NIH scientific discoveries and their impact on our health today. This recent addition to the website describes how NIH researchers, led by the NIAMS, set a foundation for the development of a new family of drugs, one of which provides a new option for people with rheumatoid arthritis who aren't helped by older drugs.

Image: Depiction of tofacitinib's target, the Jak3 kinase domain.
Photo Credit: Emw - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Eczema Relief: Probiotic Lotion Shows Early Promise

Scanning electron microscopic image of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria

Researchers, supported in part by the NIAMS, tested a novel treatment for eczema in a small Phase I clinical trial and reported success. The method involves the use of a lotion that contains good strains of Staphylococcus bacteria that, when applied to the skin, displace Staphylococcus aureus, bacteria that proliferate excessively in eczema.

Image: Scanning electron microscopic image of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (orange).
Photo credit: Jeff Hageman, M.H.S., CDC.

New Activity for Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

NIH-funded researchers have uncovered a previously unknown mechanism of activity for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The well-known anti-inflammatory action of NSAIDs is the inhibition of cyclooxygenase enzymes. This research showed that NSAIDs also inhibit caspases, which play a role in inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Socially Contagious Itching Hardwired Into Brain

A mouse observing a video screen of a scratching demonstrator will begin to scratch itself.

Chronic itch, which occurs in many medical conditions and in response to certain drugs, affects millions of Americans. A recent study revealed the underlying brain mechanisms of contagious itching in mice. The findings shed light on the neural circuits, the mechanisms of itch and socially contagious behaviors.

Image: A mouse observing a video screen of a scratching demonstrator will begin to scratch itself, too. 
Photo credit: Chen lab, Washington University School of Medicine/Science.

How the Body and Brain Achieve Carpal Tunnel Pain Relief via Acupuncture

hand Massage for Pain Relief

New research describes how acupuncture may achieve local pain-relieving effects in people with carpal tunnel syndrome while also showing effects of the technique in the brain’s pain centers.


NIH Achieves Milestone To Accelerate Multisite Clinical Studies: CTSA Program Paves Way for Nationwide Single IRB Model

The NIH Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) announced that all Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program sites (more than 150 top medical research institutions) have signed on to an authorization agreement which will enable all participating study sites to rely on the ethics review of one Institutional Review Board for each study, making it possible to initiate multisite studies within weeks instead of months. For patients waiting to enroll in a study, this could make a life-saving difference.

CDC Vital Signs: Arthritis in America

Arthritis effects can be reduced with physical activity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that about 1 in 4 (54 million) U.S. adults have arthritis. About 24 million adults are limited in their activities from arthritis and adults with arthritis can decrease pain and improve function by around 40 percent by being physically active. The full report, “Vital Signs: Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation—United States, 2013–2015,” is available on the CDC website. The related CDC Vital Signs Fact Sheets are available in English and Spanish.

FDA Approves New Eczema Drug Dupixent

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Dupixent (dupilumab) injection to treat adults with moderate-to-severe eczema (atopic dermatitis). Dupixent is intended for patients whose eczema is not controlled adequately by topical therapies, or those for whom topical therapies are not advisable.


Spotlight on Scientific Imagery: Engineered T Cells To Treat Pemphigus

Disease-causing antibody (red) levels are lessened by treatment with engineered T cells (left panel) compared to controls (right panel) in mucous membrane samples taken from mice

Disease-causing antibody (red) levels are lessened by treatment with engineered T cells (left panel) compared to controls (right panel) in mucous membrane samples taken from mice with a form of pemphigus vulgaris, a rare autoimmune skin disease. These findings may offer a new strategy for treating pemphigus and possibly other autoimmune conditions.

Photo credit: Aimee S. Payne, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael C. Milone, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

NIAMS Community Outreach Website in Spanish!

Infographic: Social media sharing tools

The NIAMS Community Outreach Initiative website, introduced in January’s Update, is now available in Spanish. The purpose of this website is to help you with successful outreach and health promotion by providing easy-to-find, Spanish-language information and resources on bones, joints, muscles and skin. The site’s social media sharing tools include eye-catching e-cards for outreach and health messaging. —Visite el nuevo sitio web de la Iniciativa de Alcance Comunitario del NIAMS aquí!

NIH News in Health Featured Website: Bone Health Resources

NIAMS Bone Health Resources

How do you keep your bones healthy and strong? It’s never too late to improve your bone health. Find out how to eat the right foods, exercise safely and make other healthy lifestyle choices to protect your bones.

Pain Registries and Other NIH Pain Resources

Infographic: Pain Registries and Other NIH Pain Resources

The NIH Pain Consortium’s website has a list of national pain registries and a series of education modules that guide students and practitioners through the evaluation, examination, diagnosis and treatment of a variety of pain-related conditions.

We invite you to subscribe to the NIAMS Community Outreach Bulletin, which is an online digest designed to inform community advocates and health professionals about resources for diverse audiences on conditions of the bones, joints, muscles and skin and ways to stay healthy. The NIAMS also publishes the Honoring Health: Resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives e-newsletter, which is distributed three times per year and highlights a different health topic for each issue, along with helpful resources for community members and health professionals.


June NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting

The NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held June 21, Building 31, 6th Floor, C Wing, Conference Room 6, NIH Campus. A meeting agenda will be posted as soon as it is available. This Council meeting will be available for live viewing via the NIH videocasting service as well.

NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting

Symptom Science Research: A Path to Precision Health

April 25, 2017
8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD 20892
Cost: Free
Details and registration information available here.

NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration

May 3–5, 2017
New Orleans, LA 70130
Details and registration information available here.

NIH Pain Consortium Symposium: Multidisciplinary Strategies for Pain

May 31–June 1, 2017
NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD 20892
Cost: Free
Details and registration information available here.

Chronic Inflammation Biomarkers in Disease Development and Prevention

May 31–June 1, 2017
Rockville, MD 20852
Cost: Free
Details and registration information available here.

NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series

The NIH’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series offers weekly lectures every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., NIH Campus. Renowned scientists from around the globe present research on a variety of topics. The lectures are Continuing Medical Education-certified, open to the public and available live via webcast.

Upcoming Lecture:

April 26, 2017
Rolla E. Dyer Lecture
Yasmine Belkaid, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health, NIAID
The Primary Shield: Role of Our Microbes in Health and Diseases”

NIH Science Lectures and Events Available via Internet

The NIH hosts a number of science seminars and events that are available online through real-time streaming video (videocast). The NIH calendar notes these videocast events with a video icon video icon.

Funding Announcements

If you would like information about funding opportunities, please view the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts,  the primary source for information about NIH funding opportunities. You can also request a weekly Table of Contents from the NIH Guide. In addition, the NIAMS website provides comprehensive information on NIAMS-related grants and processes.

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