TRDJ Radstake et al. Journal of Rheumatology. May (2001) Vol. 28 #5 p 962.
A study of genetic anticipation among families with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in Europe.
Genetic anticipation describes a phenomenon where the age of onset of a genetically determined illness decreases with successive generations. The effect is that diseases that are normally associated with old age can manifest surprisingly early. The result of this may be that the illness is misdiagnosed or the symptoms are attributed to a cause, which is in fact innocent.
The paper demonstrated that a small proportion (4%) of cases of RA had a parent with the same condition (28/683) and were diagnosed in advance of the age of diagnosis of the parent. Typically the anticipation was of the order of 16 years.
Although the proportion of cases with apparent genetic anticipation is small (4%) it may be worth keeping this possibility in mind when assessing cases of upper limb disorder.