The Spondyloarthritis Research and Therapy Network (SPARTAN), founded in 2003 to promote research, education, and treatment of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and related forms of spondyloarthritis (SpA), held its 7th Annual Research and Education Meeting in July 2009 in Houston, Texas. Current controversies in SpA discussed during the meeting included an update on the epidemiology of AS, axial SpA, and inflammatory back pain; the adequacy of the mSASS to assess radiographic involvement; the helpfulness of magnetic resonance imaging in assessing disease progression; the reliability of metrology in assessing damage; and whether biologic agents alter the course of AS. Presentations also were made on psoriasis in the SCID mouse model; the challenges and opportunities of SpA in China; a discussion of the special needs in managing SpA in Ibero-America, and the SPARK Survey in Europe and North America.
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