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Faculty Detail    
Campus Address FOT 820D Zip 3408
Phone  (205) 996-9784
Other websites

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Primary  Medicine  Med - Immunology/Rheumatology Professor
Secondary  Epidemiology  Epidemiology Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Center for Outcomes & Effectiveness Res & Educ Professor
Center  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr Professor
Center  Comprehensive Cardiovascular Ctr  Comprehensive Cardiovascular Ctr Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Ctr for Clinical & Translational Sci Professor
Center  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology  Ctr for Exercise Medicine Professor
Center  Medicine  Ctr for Palliative & Supportive Care Professor
Center  Integrative Center for Aging Research  Integrative Center for Aging Research Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Minority Health & Research Center Professor

Biographical Sketch 
Kenneth G. Saag, MD, MSc, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, is a rheumatologist and outcomes researcher with particular expertise in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, pharmacoepidemiology and patient preference measurement. He is experienced in population-based investigations, working with large databases, survey research and quality indicator development. He has served on NIAMS Multipurpose Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases Centers’ NIAMS Multidisciplinary Clinical Rearch Center, Epidemiology and Disease Control-3 and Arthritis Foundation Clinical, Therapeutics and Outcomes review groups and as an invited member of the NIAMS Working Group on Epidemiology, Education and Health Services Research. He has served on national committees to develop both arthritis and osteoporosis guidelines, an Institute of Medicine on Treatment Effectiveness, and has authored a review for the Musculoskeletal Workgroup of the Cochrane Collaboration. Dr. Saag has experience working with the pharmaceutical industry as a leader of multi-center clinical trials and outcomes investigations. He is also on the editorial boards of Arthritis Care and Research Arthritis Index and Reviews, and Current Opinion in Rheumatology. In July 2000, he became Director of the newly funded UAB Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics on Musculoskeletal Diseases, an AHRQ-funded initiative to better understand safe and effective use of therapeutic agents.

Research/Clinical Interest
Epidemiological and Genetic Determinants of Musculoskeletal Diseases
An example of Dr. Saag’s ongoing epidemiologicalresearch is the “Epidemiological and Genetic Determinants of Elderly Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis” study, which is a collaboration with investigators at UCSF, UCD, and the Mayo Clinic in examining environmental and genetic risk factors associated with validated, incident cases of early onset RA in the Iowa Women’s Health Study; an ongoing population-based cohort study of over 41,000 older women. Genetic analyses are focusing on three genes within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and four genetic regions involved in MHC/T-cell interactions. The goal of these analyses is to define genetic associations with early onset RA as well as genetic interaction with selected epidemiologic risk factors evaluated in the previous “Epidemiologic Determinants of Elderly Onset RA” study that analyzed 158 incident cases of RA. The investigation represents a unique opportunity to further study this extremely well characterized cohort of older women with validated early onset RA disease that began after information on a large number of potential arthritis risk factors was collected. Very few prospective cohorts have been large enough or followed subjects long enough to assemble as sizable a group of incident cases and none have specifically examined the unique genetic attributes of early onset RA. Furthermore, the population that is being studied is well characterized for ethnicity and includes a sizable number of rural inhabitants. In other studies, Dr. Saag is identifying the incidence and risk factors for MRI-defined osteonecrosis among recent recipients of renal transplant and improving quality of care in steroid-induced osteoprosis; implementing a state arthritis health program to prevent arthritis in Alabama, improve the treatment of arthritis in the state, improve the ability to function of persons with arthritis, minimize the disability impact of arthritis, and improve the quality of life of Alabama’s citizens; monitoring the long-term safety and toxicity monitoring of NSAIDs; and is a collaborator with Dr. Bridge’s in the analysis of the pharmacogenetics of methotrexate in RA.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Mikuls TR, Kahn D, Utrie PC, Miller SJ, Koehnke R, Saag KG.: Samarium-153-EDTMP (Sm-153) in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In press, Scand J. Rheum, 2002.   
Criswell L, Merlino M, Cerhan J, Criswell L, Mudano A, Mikuls, T, Folsom A, Saag K. Cigarette smoking and risk of elderly-onset rheumatoid arthritis: results from the Iowa Woman’s Health Study. In press, Am J Med, 2002   
Voelker P, Saag KG, Doebbeling BN, Chrischilles E, et al: Health Related Quality of Life in Iowa Persian Gulf War Veterans. In press, Am J Epidemiol, 2002.   
Mikuls T, Cerhan J, Merlino L, Criswell L, Saag K: Decaffeinated coffee consumption is associated with an increased incidence of elderly-onset rheumatoid arthritis. In press, Arthritis and Rheumatism, 2002   
Misischia R, Saag KG: Practical Use of Glucocorticoids in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Musculoskeletal Medicine (In press)   
Saag KG, Doebbeling BN, Kolluri S, Herman ME, Rohrer JE, Wallace RB: Variation in tertiary prevention among the elderly due to urban-rural residence and other access factors. Med Care 36:965-976, 1998   
Saag KG, Emkey R, Schnitzer T, et al: Alendronate for the treatment and prevention of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. New Engl J Med 339:292-299, 1998   
Saag K, van der Heijde D, Fisher C, Samara A, DeTora L, Bolognese J, Ehrich and Brian Daniels B, for the OA Studies Group: Rofecoxib, a new specific COX-2 inhibitor shows sustained efficacy comparable to NSAIDs, in a six-week and a one-year trial in patients with osteoarthritis. Archives Family Medicine 9:1124-34, 2000   
Merlino L, Bagchi I, Taylor T, Utrie P, Chrischilles E, Sumner III W, Mudano A, Saag K: Preferences for fractures and other glucocorticoid-associated adverse effects among rheumatoid arthritis patients. Med Decis Making, 21:122-132, 2001   
Furst DE, Saag K, Fleischmann R, Sherrer Y, Block J, Rutstein J, Baldassare A, Kaine J, Cash J, Calabrese L, Dietz F, Sack M, Senter RG, Wiesenhutter C, Schiff M, Stein M, Satoi Y, Matsumoto A, Caldwell J, Harris E, Moreland LW, Hurd E, Yocum D, Stamler DA: Efficacy of tacrolimus in rheumatoid arthritis patients failing methotrexate: a six-month, double blind, randomized, dose ranging study. Ann Intern Med (In Press)