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Obesity contributes to rapid cartilage loss
Date:7/13/2009

OAK BROOK, Ill. Obesity, among other factors, is strongly associated with an increased risk of rapid cartilage loss, according to a study published in the August issue of Radiology.

"We have isolated demographic and MRI-based risk factors for progressive cartilage loss," said the study's lead author, Frank W. Roemer, M.D., adjunct associate professor at Boston University and co-director of the Quantitative Imaging Center at the Department of Radiology at Boston University School of Medicine. "Increased baseline body mass index (BMI) was the only non-MRI-based predictor identified."

Tibio-femoral cartilage is a flexible connective tissue that covers and protects the bones of the knee. Cartilage damage can occur due to excessive wear and tear, injury, misalignment of the joint or other factors, including osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting 27 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down and, in severe cases, can completely wear away, leaving the joint without a cushion. The bones rub together, causing further damage, significant pain and loss of mobility.

The best way to prevent or slow cartilage loss and subsequent disability is to identify risk factors early.

"Osteoarthritis is a slowly progressive disorder, but a minority of patients with hardly any osteoarthritis at first diagnosis exhibit fast disease progression," Dr. Roemer said. "So we set out to identify baseline risk factors that might predict rapid cartilage loss in patients with early knee osteoarthritis or at high risk for the disease."

The researchers recruited patients from the Multicenter Osteoarthritis (MOST) Study, a prospective study of 3,026 people, age 50 79, at risk for osteoarthritis or with early x-ray evidence of the disease. The study is funded by the National Institute on Agi
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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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