Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that has direct involvement with the immune system. This disease is considered to be degenerative and currently the only thing that can be done is manage the painful symptoms and suppress the self targeting actions by using immune suppressing drugs. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is mostly unknown but there is a high amount of evidence that there are genetic predispositions for the disease. This being said however there are also environmental factors to asses these include, bacteria, viruses, fungi and other environmental factors. Doctors primarily use a physical examination to first suspect R.A. then send for blood work to confirm. There are many aspects to this disease and many questions left unanswered, the treatments available now are only temporarily and can in some cases cause more problems than benefits. Lab experiments and clinical trials are currently showing some great results and could within our lifetimes cure many autoimmune diseases including R.A.. Although much is unknown on the causes of R.A. there are many things we see in correlation with the onset of disease. These include Bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. The mycoplasma bacteria, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, parvovirus and rubella (German measles) virus have all been considered as possible causative factors but conclusive evidence is still lacking (Zeliadt, 2010). Many times there have only been considerations for infectious bacteria causing this disease but now that idea is being questioned. A study involving mice in bacteria free cages showed that the friendly gut dwelling segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) can cause onset of R.A. in greater numbers than those without. The mice that did no... ... middle of paper ... ...Retrieved Febuary 1, 2012, from About.com: http://arthritis.about.com/od/radiagnosis/a/rheumfactor.htm HJ, W., II, I., J, D., K, H., T, S., Y, U., et al. (2010). Gut-residing segmented filamentous bacteria drive autoimmune arthritis via T helper 17 cells. PubMed . Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011, May 2). Treatments and drugs. Retrieved Febuary 1, 2012, from Mayclinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis/DS00020/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs Rodak, B. F., Fritsma, g. A., & Doig, K. (2007). Hematology: Clinical Principles and applications. St. louis: Saunders Elsevier. Stem Cell Institute. (2011). Stem Cell Treatments. Retrieved Febuary 1, 2012, from cellmedicine: http://www.cellmedicine.com/treatment/rheumatoid-arthritis/ Zeliadt, N. (2010). When Good Germs Go Bad: "Friendly" Gut Bacteria Can Trigger Rheumatoid Arthritis in Mice. Scientific American .