Monash research shows low vitamin D levels linked to lupus

5 May 2015

Monash University-led research has shown for the first time that low vitamin D levels are associated with higher disease activity in Australian lupus patients.
Published recently in Lupus Science & Medicine, lead researcher Dr Kristy Yap, from the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases in the School of Clinical Sciences reported her findings in the first study to examine systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE) disease in the Southern Hemisphere.

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SLE, also known as lupus, is a severe, incurable and debilitating multisystem autoimmune disease. It is the most common autoimmune disease, affecting at least five million people worldwide, and is predominantly diagnosed in young women.
The longitudinal study examined the disease activity and vitamin D levels of lupus patients who attended the Monash Medical Centre Lupus Clinic between 2007 and 2013.
“We found a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in our cohort,” said Dr Yap.
“Significantly, over a quarter of our patients recorded low vitamin D levels, keeping with reports from other parts of the world, including Asia and Europe.”
Demonstrating an inverse association between vitamin D levels and lupus disease activity, the research shows that increasing vitamin D levels correlates with lower disease activity in lupus patients.
Dr Alberta Hoi, Head of the Monash Lupus Clinic and chief investigator in the Lupus and Arthritis Research Group, said future studies should include randomised trials which focus on the clinical effect of vitamin D supplementation in lupus.

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The Monash University Medical School’s graduate-entry degree emphasizes clinical communication skills and early clinical contact visits to medical practices, community care facilities and hospitals. With a focus on rural health, all student teaching and clinical placements take place throughout Gippsland. Students will predominantly spend the first year in the purpose-built Gippsland facility and undertake clinical rotations at hospitals, community health centres and general practices over the four years of the course.
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Duration: 4 years
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