Arthritis Conference - Installment #5 (transcript) on Osteoarthritis

2005 ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting: Reports From National Arthritis Meeting

William Shiel, M.D., FACP, FACR, Editor of MedicineNet's Arthritis Overview, Offers Perspectives Of Interest On Topics From 2005 Annual Scientific Meeting of The American College of Rheumatology (held November 12-17, 2005)

Audio Medical Podcast

Listen now to installment #5 (transcript) on Osteoarthritis - From Dr. William Shiel who is at the 2005 Arthritis Conference in San Diego, CA (MP3 5:36min 2.57MB)

Osteoarthritis Update 2005

This is Dr. William Shiel medical editor for reporting to you from the 2005 annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology -- the national arthritis meeting. This segment of my report has osteoarthritis as its topic.

Runners and Osteoarthritis
A very interesting paper from Stanford was presented on runners and osteoarthritis. Stanford has been following runners with osteoarthritis since the early 1980s. This report is regarding 53 long distance runners and lack of progression of hip osteoarthritis related to their running. These runners were followed since 1984. The researchers found that there was no association with progression of hip osteoarthritis in this group of patients. This significant study is a follow-up study to previous studies which have shown lack of association of the development of osteoarthritis of the knees in long distance runners. It has been previously shown that if patients have previous joint damage running can exacerbate osteoarthritis -- it must be noted.

Impact Load and Osteoarthritis of the Knees and Weight-loss
In another exciting paper presented at our national meeting researchers from Johns Hopkins University medical report that even modest reduction in patients who are overweight can be extremely helpful in reducing the impact load and symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knees. The researchers concluded that it appears that for patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knees modest weight-loss can have substantial effect on knee pain relieving stiffness and improving functioning. This is an important paper and concept for patients who are affected by osteoarthritis. Sometimes, we as caregivers encounter and set goals way too high for patients who are overweight and this paper would encourage patients to lose weight even to a modest degree to obtain substantial benefit in reducing their knee pain with osteoarthritis.

Smoking and the Risk of Osteoarthritis of the Knees
Another paper reported from a combined study from Mayo Clinic, Boston University, and University of California San Francisco was regarding smoking and the risks of osteoarthritis of the knees in men. These researchers found that there was a significant influence of current smoking and cartilage loss at the knee joint. Cartilage loss was particularly significant at the inner portion of the knee and underneath the knee cap. The researchers hypothesized or postulated that smoking might effect oxygen tension within the joint tissue interfering with the cartilage repair. But this remains to be proven with further studies. The bottom line is this is another reason why humans should not smoke. It can lead to progressive osteoarthritis in the knees.

Glucosamine Debate
Keep your ears open it looks like there's going to be a debate regarding the glucosamine and chondroitin effects for patients with osteoarthritis. In an important multi-centered study - that is 16 major centers around the United States cooperated with the National Institutes of Health in a study referred to as the GAIT Study. The researchers concluded in their conclusion that glucosamine might help patients with moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knees in relieving their pain. Mild osteoarthritis patients had no effect of glucosamine. However when the paper was presented to the audience the paper was basically dissected in front of approximately 4,000 viewers. It was noted that the actual statistics presented in the paper did not report a significant influence of glucosamine and chondroitin in benefiting patient's knee pain. There are further papers to be presented on glucosamine but it seems less likely that there is a significant effect in relieving knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. This important study was a landmark study that took since 1999 for researchers in all of these centers in a collaborative effort to achieve and obtain the lengthy data. It seems there is a lack of response compatible with placebo in people taking glucosamine.

For more on osteoarthritis information, go to the Arthritis Center.


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2005 Arthritis Conference updates on: Gout, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis

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