By: Wu Hsin-yun and Elizabeth Hsu
Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) A study by Academia Sinica researchers and practicing physicians at local hospitals has discovered an enzyme that causes ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a type of arthritis characterized by pain and stiffness in the patient's spine, shedding light on a cure for the disease that is currently incurable.
AS usually starts with inflammation in the pelvic area while a bone-like substance accumulates around the vertebra, connecting the ligament to the bone.
Eventually this causes inflexibility of the spine, leading to the so-called "bamboo spine" syndrome in which patients can no longer straighten their backs after they curve their spine.
Statistically, AS happens more to men, and the early symptoms are usually chronic lower back pain at a young age, according to a statement released by Academia Sinica, Taiwan's top academic research institution, on Friday. [FULL ST.ORY]