Summer 2019 (Volume 29, Number 2)
RheumJeopardy! at the 2019 CRA ASM
By Philip A. Baer, MDCM, FRCPC, FACR
Building bridges was the 2019 CRA Annual Scientific
Meeting (ASM) theme, which RheumJeopardy supported
through gamification, bringing together more than 200
participants on the Friday afternoon of the ASM at the Fairmont
Queen Elizabeth in Montreal. Once again, the participants were
divided into East and West teams, with the boundary zigzagging
through the Greater Toronto area. Both my office in Scarborough
and my home in North York put me in the East camp, but
I displayed my East-West socks to the audience to show neutrality.
Our Chair was Dr. Rosie Scuccimarri, last year’s winning
East team captain, running the show after a tough night oncall.
She wore a dizzying array of Eastern team sports sweaters
in 2018. This time, she showed her neutrality by starting off in
a mid-Canada Winnipeg Jets jersey, but by the end showed her
true colours with a Montreal Canadiens top. We had new captains
this year: Valérie Leclair from the Jewish General Hospital
in Montreal for the East, and Jennifer Reynolds from St. Paul’s
Hospital for the West.
Thanks to Mark Atkinson and his superb audio-visual (AV)
team, we had absolutely no technical glitches this year. Everyone
in the audience could participate using the PollEverywhere
app. Through spelling errors, I accidentally invented a
new disease “dermatomyosotis,” and found out I had D-J dyslexia
when I misspelled the famous Dr. Van der Heijde’s name.
Glaringly obvious when you use size 60 font on your slides!
Others do make errors too: One question this year showed an
X-ray image of the spine in ankylosing spondylitis, which had
been mislabelled as showing osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee in
a 2016 print issue of the American College of Rheumatology
(ACR) publication “The Rheumatologist.”
Categories this year were familiar: Rheum Potpourri, Rheum
Art, Old Drugs New Tricks, OA, Sight Diagnosis and Numbers.
As the 2018 version was low scoring, we played only Double
Jeopardy this year, with point values ranging from 200 to 1,000.
Themes common to several questions included autoinflammatory
syndromes, pediatric rheumatology, diseases/mutations
that protect against other diseases, and rheumatology drugs
which have been repurposed to treat non-rheumatic diseases.
After Rosie showed photos of her knockout punch against
David Robinson from the 2018 match, I reviewed Jeopardy news
from 2018, including rumours that Alex Trebek might retire.
This was the basis of our sample question on his possible replacements.
The answer was Laura Coates, an American legal
commentator, not to be confused with rheumatology’s Laura
Coates of TICOPA and minimal disease activity fame.
Then it was on to the real game, which was fast-paced and
high scoring. Knowing already that sickle-cell trait protects
against malaria, and human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B27 protects
against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), this year’s
questions revealed that Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)
protects against bubonic plague, and that a gene which protects
against frostbite predisposes carriers to developing OA.
Once again, we found out that antimalarials are the proverbial
Swiss army knives of rheumatology. Not only do they prevent and
treat malaria, and treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus
erythematosus (SLE) and a host of other rheumatic diseases, but
our answers revealed they might work against Zika virus and also
protect against HIV (using a vaginal implant developed at the
University of Waterloo). Do antimalarials work as OA therapies?
The answer to that question may be revealed in a future RheumJeopardy (for those who can’t wait, consult the results of the HERO
As usual, I tried to highlight Canadian research. We found
out that the team defining RA flares for OMERACT, led by
Dr. Vivian Bykerk, did not include swollen joints in their flare
definition, using only patient-related outcomes (PROs). We
also found out that Drs. Janet Pope and Dafna Gladman may
be prolific researchers, but they were not lumped into the
category of “hyperprolific” authors, who average publishing a
scientific paper every 5 days, according to a recent article in
Nature. Two rheumatologists did make that list: the European
pairing of Dr. Maxime Dougados and the aforementioned
Dr. van der Heijde.
Questions which stumped both teams included the antinuclear
antibody (ANA) titre used as an entry criterion in the new ACR-European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) SLE
classification criteria (Answer 31:80), and one which revolved
around calculating the total daily dose of naproxen and ibuprofen
a patient was consuming when they mistakenly mixed
Advil 12 hour, Advil Arthritis, Motrimax and Aleve together.
We covered 15 of 30 questions on the game board by the
time Final Jeopardy rolled around. The category was famous
Canadian pediatric rheumatologists. The question centred on
a patient with a syndrome of rashes, joint pain, red eyes and
migraines, who went undiagnosed until his daughter was born
and presented with a similar clinical picture. He researched
the cause using Dr. Google, and eventually called Dr. Ron
Laxer (the correct person to choose in Final Jeopardy), who
confirmed a diagnosis of Muckle Wells syndrome, a form of
cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome (CAPS) mediated by a
defective pyrin inflammasome. All of this was captured on CBC
radio by Dr. Brian Goldman as part of his White Coat, Black
Art series. Dr. Laxer was in the meeting room to bask in the
glory, and both teams chose his name correctly.
The final score was East 13,200 and West 10,400. We may
be back for a rematch in Victoria at CRA ASM 2020. Thank you
to all those who participated.
Dr. Philip Baer, host of RheumJeopardy! 2019, pictured with Dr. Valérie
Leclair (Team Captain of the East), Dr. Jennifer Reynolds (Team Captain of
the West), and Dr. Rosie Scuccimarri (Chair of this year's event).
Philip A. Baer, MDCM, FRCPC, FACR