The LRP Presents the Fiscal Year 2021 Transformative Vision Award Recipient

Posted August 4, 2023

Megan E.B. Clowse, M.D., M.P.H., Duke University

Dr. Megan E.B. Clowse Dr. Megan E.B. Clowse

Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) experience a range of symptoms that can severely impact quality of life, such as fatigue, chronic pain, and brain fog. Currently, the causal link between inflammation and these symptoms is unclear and can complicate disease management for both patients and physicians. Dr. Clowse, in partnership with Drs. Jennifer Rogers, David Pisetsky, and Amanda Eudy, have classified SLE symptoms into two categories: type 1, which includes autoimmune inflammation of tissues (arthritis, cutaneous lupus, lupus nephritis) and type 2, which are essential features of SLE but have unknown causes (brain fog, myalgia, and fatigue). Furthermore, type 2 symptoms are divided by how they present, as either intermittent (type 1 and type 2 symptoms appear at the same time) or persistent (type 2 symptoms persist without type 1 symptoms). With a fiscal year 2021 Lupus Research Program Transformative Vision Award, Dr. Clowse and her research team will develop and test the Whole Health Empowerment for Endotypes of Lupus (WHEEL) program, which is a group-based health-coach led program with two distinct curricula, one for intermittent type 2 SLE and the other for persistent type 2 symptoms. These programs will be developed in close collaboration with patient partners to ensure they meet the unique needs of people living with SLE. This program has the potential to improve quality of life for SLE patients by empowering them to take control of their health.

Dr. Clowse Figure 1 Figure 1: People living with lupus experience a wide range of symptoms. Some, like swollen joints, are caused by inflammation. Others, like fatigue and muscle pain, may come from various other causes. (Image created by Mithu Maheswaranathan, M.D.)

Dr. Clowse Figure 2 Figure 2: Based on her experience talking to people with lupus and measuring their symptoms, Dr. Clowse believes that some patients have persistent fatigue and chronic pain. For others, however, these symptoms may go away once the inflammation of lupus is controlled with medication.

Dr. Clowse Figure 3 Figure 3: People living with lupus have many different causes for their symptoms and many differences in how severely those symptoms impact their quality of life. Dr. Clowse believes it is important for clinicians to determine which of these factors is important for each patient and work together with the patient to address them.

Public and Technical Abstracts: Improving Quality of Life in SLE by Stratified Personalized Health Planning

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Last updated Friday, August 4, 2023