The 2015 CRA Great Debate took place Thursday evening in front of a standing room only crowd in the main ballroom. The question was “This house believes that Pre-RA should be treated.” The East vs. West format continued, but this year the men took centre stage compared with 2014’s all-female debaters. Debating for the affirmative was the East side composed of Volodko Bakowsky of Halifax and Derek Haaland of Barrie. On the negative side were Rob McDougall of Regina and Hani El-Gabalawy of Winnipeg. The debate was moderated admirably by Henry Averns from Kingston.
A key item up for debate is, what truly is pre-RA? Do the ACR / EULAR criteria for RA truly identify when RA begins? Does pre-RA begin at onset of clinical symptoms or with pre-symptomatic autoimmunity?
A key article cited by the affirmative side of Haaland and Bakowsky was actually published by El-Gabalawy of the negative side: Pathogenesis and prevention of rheumatic disease: focus on preclinical RA and SLE. Nat Rev Rheumatol 10, 212-228 (2014).
When it came time for the audience to vote on the winning debaters, it was felt to be a draw.
Whether beer is pre-whisky or how photos of Behçet’s disease entered into the argument, we will all have to wonder!