Opinion | Autoimmunity Has Reached Epidemic Levels. We Need Urgent Action to Address It
Autoimmunity is on the rise worldwide, increasing by 3 to 12% each year. In the U.S., antinuclear antibodies, which could indicate autoimmune disease, have spiked by almost 50% in under 30 years. To tackle this growing issue, Olivia Casey, senior director of programs at the Autoimmune Association, and Frederick W. Miller, MD, PhD, formerly of the National Institutes of Health, are advocating for standardized terminology, a national data registry, and a comprehensive strategy to address this epidemic.
In a recent opinion piece in Scientific American, Casey and Miller explicate the scope of autoimmunity and lay out the three-pronged approach.
“The global autoimmune epidemic has received too little attention and resources for too long. What information we have indicates the cost of managing this epidemic is increasing dramatically. The price of inaction will be profound, both in terms of human suffering and health care expenditures. It’s still possible to shape a future where autoimmune diseases decrease or even become a thing of the past. But to do so, we must act now, urgently and decisively,” the piece concludes.
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