Nearly one in every two people in the U.S. may develop knee osteoarthritis by age 85, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2030, an estimated 67 million Americans over the age of 18 are projected to have physician-diagnosed arthritis.
Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) previously had found an association between physical activity and cartilage degeneration. But that study focused on one point in time.
For the new study, the UCSF researchers looked at changes in knee cartilage among a group of middle-aged adults over a four-year period. They used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based T2 relaxation times to track the evolution of early degenerative cartilage changes in the knee.
"T2 relaxation times generated from MR images allow for analysis of the biochemical and molecular composition of cartilage," said Wilson Lin, B.S., research fellow and medical student at UCSF. "There is increased water mobility in damaged cartilage, and increased water mobility results in increased T2 relaxation time."
The researchers analyzed 205 patients, age 45 to 60, from the UCSF-based Osteoarthritis Initiative, a nationwide study funded by the National Institutes of Health on the prevention and treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Participants used a questionnaire to record their physical activity. The researchers measured T2 values of cartilage at the patella, femur and tibia of the right knee joint at baseline and at two- and four-year visits.
According to the results of the study, participating frequently in high-impact activities, such as running, appears associated with more degenerated cartilage and potentially a higher risk for development of osteoarthritis.
"When we compared the scores among groups, we found an accelerated progression of T2 relaxation times in those who were the most physically active," said Thomas M. Link, M.D., professor of radiology and chief of musculoskeletal imaging at UCSF. "Those who had very low levels of activity also had accelerated progression of T2 values. This suggests that there may be an optimal level of physical activity to preserve the cartilage."
The results open up numerous areas for future inquiry, including analysis of the impact of specific types of physical activity on knee cartilage health. For instance, some of the participants in the Osteoarthritis Initiative wore an accelerometer, a device with a motion sensor to record physical activity.
"In this study, we used the subjective measure of a questionnaire," Lin said. "The accelerometers provide a more objective way to measure physical activity."
Along with the findings on changes in knee cartilage, the study also highlighted the potential of T2 relaxation times as an early indicator of cartilage degeneration.
"Standard MRI shows cartilage defects that are irreversible," Dr. Link said. "The exciting thing about the new cartilage T2 measurements is that they give us information on a biochemical level, thus potentially detecting changes at an earlier stage when they may still be reversible."
Dr. Link noted that people who have a higher risk for osteoarthritis (such as family history of total joint replacement, obesity, history of knee injury or surgery) can reduce their risk for cartilage degeneration by maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding risky activities and strenuous, high-impact exercise.
"Lower impact sports, such as walking or swimming, are likely more beneficial than higher impact sports, such as running or tennis, in individuals at risk for osteoarthritis," he said.
Coauthors are Waraporn Srikhum, M.D., Charles E. McCulloch, Ph.D., Michael Neitt, Ph.D., John Lynch, Ph.D., Gabby B. Joseph, Ph.D., and Hamza Alizai, M.D.
Note: Copies of RSNA 2012 news releases and electronic images will be available online at RSNA.org/press12 beginning Monday, Nov. 26.
RSNA is an association of more than 50,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists, promoting excellence in patient care and health care delivery through education, research and technologic innovation. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill.
Editor's note: The data in these releases may differ from those in the published abstract and those actually presented at the meeting, as researchers continue to update their data right up until the meeting. To ensure you are using the most up-to-date information, please call the RSNA Newsroom at 1-312-949-3233.
For patient-friendly information on MRI of the knee, visit RadiologyInfo.org.
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences