Fresh Eyes On Early Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is detected magnetic resonance imaging is sophisticated enough to detect joint cartilage

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Osteoarthritis researchers are bringing in the big boys in a team effort to improve early detection and earlier effective therapies.

Researchers from New York University's orthopedic surgery, rheumatology and radiology departments have developed a new diagnostic tool that can verify key markers early osteoarthritis.

"Baby boomers hit medical pay dirt with new osteoarthritis diagnostic tool."

Laith Jazrawi, M.D., associate professor of orthopedic surgery at New York University Langone Medical Center reports that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology today is sophisticated enough to detect the elements making up joint cartilage, which is known to indicate future osteoarthritis.

The baby boomer aging population is developing joint pain, so this early diagnostic tool points to the development of earlier treatment opportunities that will benefit this large segment of the population.

Michael P. Recht, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Radiology and Louise Marx professor of radiology submits that this new diagnostic tool will open up a window of opportunity to treat this debilitating arthritis prior to structural changes that may not be reversible.

Currently, conventional MRI is used to assess the condition of the cartilege in patients with arthritis. Researchers from the three departments at Langone Medical Center were able to come together as a team and implement the latest advances in MRI technology to assess cartilege damaged by early osteoarthritis.

This cartilege presents with larger concentrations of water and collagen, some proteins and glycosomaminoglycans. With this new development, evaluation of younger patients is possible and possible treatment before disease progression is a real possibility.

The study is published in the July 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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Review Date: 
August 15, 2011
Last Updated:
August 17, 2011