John Cosh

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 27 October 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1026

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Rheumatologist who bridged the gaps between cardiology, rheumatology, and herbal medicine

John Cosh had many interests in clinical medicine but his main contributions were his long term studies of the effects of rheumatoid arthritis, co-discovery of the genes associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and his work on the benefits of herbal medicines.

In 1973, with R K Jacoby and M I Jayson, he published an 11 year follow-up of 100 patients newly diagnosed as having rheumatoid arthritis (BMJ 1973;2(5858): 96-100) and followed them for a further 30 years, showing that rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive disease impairing function for decades after onset. By 2004 eight of the sample were severely disabled with rheumatoid arthritis, three were less disabled, and only five had normal functioning. Of the 84 who died, median survival was reduced by 10 to 11 years, and the leading cause of death was heart disease.

In 1986 he published, with other rheumatologists, …

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