With funding from the National Institute on Aging and the John A. Hartford Foundation and the Mayday Fund, researchers at the University of Florida and the University of Alabama at Birmingham recruited 94 participants45 black and 49 white patients with symptomatic knee OAto complete questionnaires regarding their symptoms. The study group was 75% female and had an average age of 56 years.
In addition, study subjects underwent testing that included sensitivity to heat and mechanical pain on the affected knee and the forearm. Researchers measured heat pain threshold as the point when patients indicate the sensation "first becomes painful" and pain tolerance when patients "no longer feel able to tolerate the pain." Mechanical pain measures were determined by the patients' response to pressure in the knee and forearm.
Despite living in a southern sunny climate, findings indicate that 84% of black participants had vitamin D levels less than 30 ng/mL compared to 51% of white subjects. Furthermore, the average vitamin D level for black Americans was 19.9 ng/mL (deficiency), compared to white Americans who averaged 28.2 ng/mL (insufficiency). Black participants reported greater overall knee osteoarthritis pain and those with lower vitamin D levels displayed greater sensitivity to heat and mechanical pain (experimental pain).
"Our data demonstrate that differences in experimental pain sensitivity between the two races are mediated at least in part by variations in vitamin D levels," concludes Ms. Glover. "However, further studies are needed to fully understand the link bet
|Contact: Dawn Peters|