Research Report 2018

A man in an operating room

Dr. Lihi Eder | Scientist and Rheumatologist

Unravelling the risks in psoriatic disease

Affecting up to three per cent of the population, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are skin and joint diseases with significant impact on quality of life and long-term morbidity and mortality. Patients with psoriatic disease encounter substantial barriers in managing their condition, which often presents with several other medical issues at the same time. With the goal of early detection and delivery of care for these patients to improve health outcomes, Dr. Lihi Eder is focused on understanding the risk factors for developing arthritis among patients with psoriasis.

As a rheumatologist, Dr. Eder treats patients with complex conditions which can make it much more challenging to investigate and develop solutions. One of the major challenges that psoriasis patients encounter is the delayed diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. Dr. Eder’s research focuses on identifying novel methods such as imaging modalities, genetic tests and other biomarkers to improve early detection of the disease. With early detection, patients benefit from receiving earlier treatment and possibly even future prevention of the disease. Dr. Eder is also evaluating the efficacy of a new rapid access clinic for psoriasis patients with joint pain, using a self-referral system to provide rheumatology care and improve early detection of psoriatic arthritis.

Another area of focus for Dr. Eder is cardiovascular diseases in patients with rheumatic conditions. This year, she co-founded Canada’s first combined cardio-rheumatology clinic to investigate the underlying mechanisms associated with the higher cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in rheumatic patients. Working with colleagues in cardiology, she is studying the impact of inflammation on heart health and the use of different approaches to suppress inflammation to improve cardiovascular outcomes. The clinic has already evaluated over 150 patients, of which 70 per cent are women, with different rheumatic conditions and provided treatment modification to approximately 50 per cent of these patients to optimize control and lower their risk of future cardiovascular disease. Dr. Eder hopes that these findings will help close some of the health gaps for psoriatic patients, as well as increase awareness among physicians and other healthcare providers.