History of rheumatoid arthritis certainly goes back to antiquity, pretty far from our usual expectation. The earliest of fossil remains almost dated back to 4500 BC, it shows signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Some skeletal remains of Red Indians were found in Tennessee U S A. In ancient India, traditional medicinal science of Ayurveda which dates back around 200 B C had texted document known as Charaka samhita. Where symptoms and effect of the disease somewhat matches the present day disease of rheumatoid arthritis, the book also contains description which matches exactly with R A. These are some of the earliest clues for the modern world, which perfectly narrate the story that this disease and victims are not new.
The term “rheumatism” gives a description for the chronic disease that causes inflammation, muscles stiffness, and joint pain. The word rheumatism was first coined by a renowned French physician whose name is Guillaume de Baillou in 1591. He wrote one of the first books on the arthritis disease.
Peruvian used to mix cinchona bark with water which contains quinine; though it is an anti malarial solution but it was been used to treat rheumatism also, until 1680. In 1763 uses of white willow bark came into existence because of salicylic acid which is the main ingredients found in the current day medicine of aspirin which is beneficial for R A treatment.
The word rheumatoid arthritis was first officially used by Sir Alfred Baring Garrod coined in the year 1859 and from then the R A is recorded in medical records and books. W A Lane in 1883 performed joint replacement surgery for the first time with plates and carbon steel screw. 1895 X ray made easy for the physicians to detect actual damage and inflammation caused by R A or the matter of fact for any orthopedic or general diagnosis. Just after two years, in the 1897, aspirin was manufactured by using the white willow bark component, which certainly was an ancient form of treatment. Since then aspirin is considered as a standard form of medication for R A and pain related disease.
Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet was an Australian virologist; he was awarded the Nobel Prize in the year 1960 for the contribution in the field of medicine & physiology. He was a pioneer in the theory of autoimmunity; the theory indicates that antibodies cause the body’s own immune system to attack its own cells and tissues causing severe damage.
Rheumatoid arthritis though known to human civilization for many millennia, but still complete cure is not possible after so many years. With fascinating discoveries in the field of medicine has always shown bright signs to combat this chronic disease. With medication and simple lifestyle it can make relief for the patients. Rheumatoid arthritis actual cause is still unknown; speculations are always there about the cause which mainly triggers the disease. Scientists are on a quest to find out the root cause, if they succeed in doing so they can find out the cure very soon.