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Recently, we have reported from the BARFOT early (duration <1 year) rheumatoid arthritis study that over the first 5 years women had, compared with men, a similar degree of joint destruction despite a higher Disease Activity Score calculated on 28 joints (DAS28) and Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ).1 However, a recent study of another rheumatoid arthritis cohort demonstrated that female gender was an independent predictor of radiographic progression over 10 years.2 3 A possible explanation for this discrepancy may be the different length of follow-up. Therefore, we have extended our study to a follow-up time of 8 years.
In all, 416 of the initial 549 patients were assessed. Of these 64.7% were women, of whom 54.4% were anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody positive and 58.2% were rheumatoid factor positive …