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New Research into Arthritis Treatment

New Research into Arthritis Treatment

New research has provided the first complete, cellular-level look at what's going on in joints afflicted by osteoarthritis, a debilitating and costly condition.

New Research into Arthritis Treatment

The study completed by Oregon State University investigates how interventions such as diet, drugs and exercise affect joint’s cells. This is critical to understanding how cells work to develop, maintain and repair tissue. 

Along with the Royal Veterinary College in London and University College London, the researchers developed a sophisticated scanning technique to view the ‘loaded’ joints of arthritic and healthy mice. ‘Loaded joints’ means the joints, such as an ankle or knee, have been put under strain while running or walking. 

“With low-dose pink-beam synchrotron X-ray tomography, and mechanical loading with nanometric precision, we could simultaneously measure the structural organization and functional response of the tissues,” said, Bay, associate professor of mechanical engineering. “That means we can look at joints from the tissue layers down to the cellular level, with a large field of view and high resolution, without having to cut out samples.”

Osteoarthritis, the degeneration of joints, affects millions of people around the world. As the number of baby boomers continues to rise, the prevalence of arthritis will likely increase in the coming decades. 

“Osteoarthritis will affect most of us during our lifetimes, many to the point where a knee joint or hip joint requires replacement with a costly and difficult surgery after enduring years of disability and pain,” Bay said. “Damage to the cartilage surfaces is associated with failure of the joint, but that damage only becomes obvious very late in the disease process, and cartilage is just the outermost layer in a complex assembly of tissues that lie deep below the surface.”

Bay concluded by stating “It’s a breakthrough in linking the clinical problem of joint failure with the most basic biological mechanisms involved in maintaining joint health.”

Choosing the right foods and making certain lifestyle choices can help to alleviate arthritis pain and perhaps slow down its progression. Read our tips for dealing with arthritis. 

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