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The impact of physical activity on weight-bearing knee joint
Date:9/27/2007

The worlds most common joint disease, osteoarthritis (OA) is a major cause of disability among adults over the age of 50. Whether physical activity is beneficial or detrimental to weight-bearing joints, knees in particular, has been open to debate. Some studies implicate physical activity in provoking knee OA, while others suggest that physical activity may actually protect the knee joint from the disease. Confounding the matter is the fact that knee injury is a known risk factor for knee OA. Then, theres the unclear role of osteophytes in knee OA progression, compounded by the limitations of radiographs for monitoring small yet significant changes in joint structure.

For a clearer picture of the impact of physical activity on the knee joint, a team of researchers in Australia turned to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This highly accurate high-tech tool makes it possible to directly visualize joint structures, detect early and pre-disease states of OA, and assess the influence of potential risk factors. Taking advantage of this novel methodology, the researchers studied the effect of physical activity, in various degrees of intensity, frequency, and duration, on knee structures in a total of 257 healthy adults between the ages of 50 and 79, with no history of knee injury or OA. Their findings, presented in the October 2007 issue of Arthritis Care & Research (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritiscare), suggest that exercise that is good for the heart is also good for the knee.

Recruited from an established community-based research population, the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, subjects all underwent MRI exams on the tibia bone and tibiofemoral joint of their dominant kneethe one on the leg they first step forward when walking. MRI was used to assess cartilage defects and bone marr
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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Source:Eurekalert

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