From Our 2010 Archives

Arthritis Doesn't Slow Typing

People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Type as Fast as People Without It

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 29, 2010 -- A new study finds that people with rheumatoid arthritis are just as fast at most typing as people without rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The more significant predictors of computer speed are training (those with typing training are better than people who hunt-and-peck) and age, according to the study, published in Arthritis Care & Research.

This is significant, the researchers note, as it means that people with RA may be able to remain in many jobs. The percentage of people who use a computer at work is on the rise, according to background information in the study. In 1993, 46% of workers used computers. By 2003, 56% of workers used computers.

"On average, the keyboarding speed of this sample of computer users with RA was comparable to a sample of computer users without impairment," authors write in the study. "This suggests that, in general, this sample would be competitive in the job market for keyboarding skills."

"Many computer users with RA will not experience reduced productivity in typing speeds, although many may be slower than their nonimpaired counterparts for mouse use," they write.

The researchers sliced and diced the information many different ways. They gathered data on hand function, general activity limitations, and computer speed. They found some cases in which arthritic patients were slower on the computer. For instance, participants with general activity limitations were slower on certain mouse and keyboarding tasks.

The study included 45 participants with RA, all of whom use computers. The average age was 55. They were recruited from the Arthritis Network Research Registry.

SOURCES: Baker, N. Arthritis Care & Research, February 2010, vol 62: pp 242-250.

News release, Wiley-Blackwell.

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