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Exercise Has No Effect on Knee OA: Study

studies that suggested that exercise may prevent joint space loss, the study did not find this to be the case. "This suggests that in middle-aged and older adults who do not have OA, exercise does not protect against disease development," the authors state.

The study attempted to examine all the ways in which OA might appear by looking at X-rays that indicated the development of structural disease using a well-known index (the Kellgren and Lawrence scale), by looking at joint space loss, which is thought to indicate cartilage loss, and also by examining symptoms. The authors conclude: "Physical activity can be done safely without concerns that persons will develop OA as a consequence."

In another study in the same issue, researchers led by J.N. Belo of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands published an overview of 37 studies appearing up to December 2003 to determine predictive factors of the progression of knee OA. As was the case with the Felson study, they found three studies showing no strong evidence that regular exercise was related to progression of knee OA; Other studies found that sex, knee pain, quadriceps strength and knee injury were also not associated with progression of knee OA. On the other hand, the presence of generalized OA and the level of hyaluronic acid (a protein found in joints) were predictive of progression of the disease.

In an accompanying editorial in the current issue Marian A. Minor of the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO notes that the Felson study helps to clarify the understanding of the relationship between knee OA and physical activity by using precise definitions of OA, using valid methods to assess prior physical activity, and evaluating the true incidence of the disease by eliminating patients who showed evidence of it on X-rays taken when the study began.

"Taken together, these methods result in a useful and valid study that supports recommending regular moder
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