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Meniscal damage and joint malalignment predictors of cartilage loss
Date:6/2/2008

Marked by cartilage and bone degradation, progressive knee osteoarthritis (OA) is believed to result in part from a combination of several local mechanical factors. Lack of joint stability, poor joint alignment and injuries to the disks of meniscal tissue that cushion the knee all affect load distribution and the toll to the vulnerable OA knee. However, in studies of knee OA progression, either meniscal damage or malalignment has been considered, but not both together, and no studies have included joint laxity.

Unlike radiographs, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can distinguish articular cartilage from meniscal tissue and detect the impact of specific factors on OA progression. Almost all studies of knee OA progression with MRI outcomes define cartilage loss with qualitative cartilage assessments. For a clearer picture of the role of various mechanical factors in knee OA, researchers at Northwestern University and Salzburg Univeristy applied quantitative measures of cartilage lossdecreases in cartilage volume and thickness and an increase in bare bone areaas well as cartilage integrity score. Their results, presented in the June 2008 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), indicate three factors that independently predict cartilage loss with a direct impact on knee OA: medial meniscal damage, lateral meniscal damage, and varus, or bow-legged, malalignment of the knee joint. Notably, quantitative cartilage loss outcome measures were more sensitive in revealing these relationships than previously applied qualitative approaches.

The study's participants, 153 women and men with radiographic evidence of knee OA, were recruited from local senior citizens groups and the registry of the Beuhler Center on Aging at Northwestern University. The mean age was 66 years and the mean BMI was 30. None of the subjects had a history of rheumatoid
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Contact: Sean Wagner
swagner@wiley.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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