Factors that affect knee structure in healthy women [ 2007 - 2009 ]

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: A/Pr Anita Wluka (Principal investigator) A/Pr Margaret Henry Prof Julie Pasco Prof Mark Kotowicz (Participant)

Brief description Osteoarthritis (OA) has the largest impact of any chronic disease on burden of disease borne in later life, affecting women more often than men. The importance of OA has been acknowledged by its listing within musculoskeletal disease, the 7th health priority in Australia. It is 4 times as common in women as in men.Treatments which slow or prevent OA progressing are limited, so prevention must play a key role. With increasing disease severity, joint cartilage is lost. We have recently developed a method to measure joint cartilage from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans which is able to assess the severity of structural changes in the knee. Using this method will allow us to assess 2 issues: 1) Obesity is the only identified modifiable risk factor for knee OA. However, the mechanism is poorly understood. Weight loss programs may be more effective at reducing the risk of OA if they are combined with programs aimed at maintaining muscle mass. 2) Bone is important in development of Knee OA, but its role is poorly understood. Understanding how bone metabolism relates to risk of knee OA may allow us to prevent disease. Bone is more likely to respond to pharmacological manipulation than cartilage. Thus it may prove a more effective target for intervention than cartilage. The Geelong Osteoporosis Study was begun in 1994 to study bone health in Australian women (urban and rural). Much information relevant to the risk of OA has been collected over the past decade. By performing MRI of the knee now and in 2 years time, we will determine the effect of different measures of obesity and bone metabolism on structural change at the knee which predisposes to OA. Since both of these factors (obesity and bone metabolism) are potentially modifiable, this study may offer new avenues of prevention and therapy in knee OA. This has the potential to promote a better quality of life as people age and to reduce the economic burden of knee OA in the community.

Funding Amount $AUD 199,176.18

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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