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Silicon compounds may cause rheumatoid arthritis

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By Jimmy Downs

Friday Nov 16, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A review article in Arthritis suggests that silicon may be an environmental risk factor for autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

C. A. Speck-Hernandez and G. Montoya-Ortiz of Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia reported that silicon compounds including silica, asbestos, silicone or nanoparticles can significantly change biological processes such as immune hyperactivation, production of reactive oxygen species and tissue injury.

The authors said "these pathological processes may trigger autoimmune responses and lead to the development of rheumatoid arthritis."

They pointed out that "Populations at risk include those that constantly work in industrial process, mining, and agriculture as well as those that undergo silicone implants."

Asbestos is a known carcinogen and new research has shown nanoparticles can also cause mutagenesis and carcinogenesis because they can get into cells causing inflammation and disrupting DNA among other things.

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