Special Interest Groups

Welcome to our Special Interest Groups (SIGs)!

The PRA Special Interest Groups (PRA SIGs) were organized around common diseases of interest in rheumatology. These were organized to mirror those of the Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology (APLAR). Additional special interest groups were added based on concerns unique to the Philippine Rheumatology setting.

What are the tasks of the PRA SIGs?

  • Collaborate with the CME Committee in planning and developing continuing professional development activities.

  • Collaborate with the Advocacy Committee in exploring, planning and implementing projects or activities that would benefit patients afflicted with rheumatic diseases.

  • Collaborate with the Research Committee in exploring, planning and implementing activities that provide perspective and understanding of rheumatic diseases.

  • Serve as advisers and partners on issues and other matters related to rheumatic diseases.

  • Represent the Association in regional and local assemblies/ conferences to advance the field of Rheumatology.

Genetics and Biomarkers

Chair: Dr. Michael L. Tee

Genetics deals with study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.  Genetics play a significant role in majority of our rheumatic diseases including different forms of arthritis and autoimmune diseases.  Biomarkers which is short for biological marker is an objective measure or indicator of what is happening in a cell or organism in a given moment.  They are objective medical signs used to measure presence of disease or disease activity or effects of treatment. There are many biomarkers used and being developed in rheumatologic diseases which would help clinicians and researchers in better understanding and management of these diseases.

Geriatric Rheumatology

Chair: Dr. Inocencio P. Alejandro

Geriatrics is a specialty that focuses on health care of elderly people.  It focuses in promoting health by preventing and treating diseases and disabilities in older adults knowing that elderly people have unique needs and special care as compared to normal adults.  In rheumatology, we deal with a lot of elderly patients especially with debilitating conditions such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and different soft tissue rheumatism.  Frailty and sarcopenia are other main concerns in the elderly people.

Gout and Crystal Arthropathies

Chair: Dr. Jose Paulo P. Lorenzo


Gout is a type of arthritis caused by deposition of monosodium urate crystals (needle-like crystals of uric acid) in a joint that causes inflammation usually monoarticular and in the lower extremities.  Heavy alcohol consumption, obesity, and chronic kidney diseases are some of the risk factors in developing gout.  If left untreated, gout can cause irreversible joint damage, kidney diseases, and other co-morbidities.  Other crystal arthropathies include calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate deposition disease (CPPD) or pseudogout and basic calcium crystalks deposition.

 

 
Musculoskeletal Ultrasound and Imaging

Chair: Dr. Juan Javier Lichauco


Imaging plays an important role in diagnosing and managing many rheumatic diseases.  Imaging includes your conventional X-rays/radiographs, CT-scan, ultrasound, MRI and other imaging modalities.  Ultrasound imaging or sonography produces images inside the body with the use of soundwaves.  Musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSK UTZ) provides pictures of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, and soft tissues throughout the body.  MSK UTZ is safe, noninvasive, and painless and used as a tool in diagnosing and managing different arthritides and soft tissue rheumatisms.  

Osteoarthritis

Chair: Dr. Auxencio Lorenz A. Lucero, Jr.


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and a major cause of disability and morbidity especially in the elderly population.  Age, obesity, and joint injury/overuse are the major risk factors in developing osteoarthritis.  It usually occurs in the knees, hips, and hands.

Osteoporosis

Chair: Dr. Julie T. Li-Yu


Osteoporosis is a condition wherein there is decreasing bone strength and density resulting in fragile or brittle bones which make them susceptible to fractures.  Risk factors for osteoporosis include age, menopause, low body weight, inadequate intake of Calcium and Vitamin D, history of steroid use, personal history of fracture as an adult, and family history of osteoporosis.  Usually osteoporosis has no symptoms until the individual developed a fragility fracture.  Bone densitometry of DXA scan is used to diagnose osteoporosis.

Pain, Fibromyalgia, and Soft Tissue Rheumatism

Chair: Dr. Andrei Rhoneil M. Rodriguez


As rheumatologists, pain is one of if not the most frequent reason patients consult us.  Different rheumatologic diseases manifest with varying degrees of pain.  Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied with fatigue, memory and mood issues, and insomnia or sleep problems.  People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain but its exact cause is unknown.

Pediatric Rheumatology

Chair: Dr. Christine B. Bernal


Pediatric Rheumatology is a clinical discipline that deals with the study of inflammatory and non-inflammatory disorders of the connective tissues and joints in children.  As they say, kids can have arthritis too.  Pediatric patients also have unique needs and special care as compared to normal adults and most especially pediatric rheumatology patients.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Chair: Dr. Evan Glenn S. Vista


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease that mainly attacks the joints of the body but can also affect other organs.  It usually presents as a symmetric chronic inflammatory polyarthritis that usually affects small joints especially in the hands (wrists, MCPs, and PIPs).  The specific cause of RA is unknown but genetics and environment seem to play a role in its development.  RA patients have higher risk or morbidity and mortality compared to normal adults especially cardiovascular complications.

Scleroderma, other CTDs, and orphan diseases

Chair: Dr. Aileen Agbanlog-Dimatulac


Systemic sclerosis or scleroderma is a rare systemic chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as an autoimmune rheumatic disease and its major manifestation is skin hardening and thickening.  There are 3 pathogenic pillars in scleroderma: vasculopathy, immune activation, and fibrosis/fibroblast dysfunction.

Spondyloarthritis

Chair: Dr. Bernadette Heizel M. Reyes


Spondyloarthritis is an umbrella term for a family of chronic inflammatory arthritis that usually attack the spine but peripheral joints may also be involved.  Ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, enteropathic arthritis are just some of the diseases under spondyloarthritis.

 

  
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Chair: Dr. Sandra Teresa V. Navarra


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the prototypic multisystem autoimmune disease with heterogeneous manifestations and varied course.   Its exact etiology is unknown and it is characterized by autoantibody production, immune complex formation and deposition, and excessive pro-inflammatory cytokine production that can affect any organ system of the body.  The pathogenesis of SLE is not completely understood but genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors have been found to play a key role in its development.

Vasculitis

Chair: Dr. Geraldine T. Zamora


Vasculitis is an umbrella term for group of diseases that have in common inflammation of blood vessels.  These vessels include arteries and veins.  There are many types of vasculitis that have varied symptoms, severity, and duration.  They can manifest from mild symptoms to life-threatening or organ threatening symptoms.  Vasculitis can be classified according to the size of vessel involved such as small, medium, or large vessel vasculitis.  Some vasculitis can affect arteries and veins of various sizes.