Study Shows Potential for Early Diagnosis of Arthritis
Pat Anson writing for Pain News Network reported a new study by British researchers has demonstrated the potential for an experimental blood test that can diagnose arthritis in its earliest stages. Such a test could lead to earlier treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), years before joint damage and physical symptoms begin.
Researchers at Warwick Medical School recruited 225 people with early or advanced OA, RA or another inflammatory joint disease, along with a control group of healthy volunteers with no joint problems. Their blood and fluid from affected knee joints were then analyzed with mass spectrometry.
The test found patterns in blood plasma amino acids that were damaged by oxygen, nitrogen and sugar molecules. The damage was highest in the blood samples of patients with OA or RA, and markedly lower in the blood of healthy volunteers — giving researchers identifiable biomarkers that could be used for an early diagnosis.
“This is a big step forward for early-stage detection of arthritis that will help start treatment early and prevent painful and debilitating disease,” said Naila Rabbani, PhD, of Warwick Medical School. “Damage to proteins in the arthritic joint have been known for many years but this is the first time it has been exploited for early-stage diagnosis.
“For the first time we measured small fragments from damaged proteins that leak from the joint into blood. The combination of changes in oxidised, nitrated and sugar-modified amino acids in blood enabled early stage detection and classification of arthritis – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other self-resolving inflammatory joint disease.”
Your orthopedic surgeon wants to do arthroscopic surgery for your meniscus… better watch out!
Arthroscopic surgery for degenerative meniscus tears increases risk for eventual knee replacement
A recent study published in the journal Osteoarthritis Cartilage showed that patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who undergo arthroscopic surgery for degenerative meniscus tears are at markedly increased risk for potentially having total joint replacement. In the study, 335 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee underwent arthroscopic surgery for degenerative meniscus tears. They were followed for two years.
The authors demonstrated that in patients with knee osteoarthritis, arthroscopic knee surgery with meniscectomy is associated with a 3 fold increase in the risk for future knee replacement surgery.
Comment: Don’t do it if you can avoid it. The meniscus serves of function. It helps to cushion the knee. Any meniscus tissue should be preserved.
Got a kid or grandkid playing soccer, here’s some news…
Study Reveals Increase In Soccer-Related Injuries, Concussions
Lindsey Tanner writing for the AP reported research has found an increase in soccer-related injuries among kids in the US being sent to emergency departments. The trend is “driven in part by young players with concussions seeking urgent medical care.” The findings were based on 25 years of data and found that the overall rate of injuries has “more than doubled to 220 per 10,000 players in 2013, from 106 per 10,000 players in 1990.”
Comment: One of my sons when he was playing soccer had 2 concussions. This is a serious issue.
And your surgeon says you need surgery… maybe not… next
Meniscal Tears May Not Need Surgery
Jack Cush reporting in RheumNow cited a study published in the British Medical Journal examines whether knee surgery or conservative medical management benefits those with degenerative meniscal tears. Patients with knee pain from a degenerative meniscal tear were randomized to either arthroscopic surgery (followed by daily exercises at home) or physical therapy (neuromuscular and strength exercises) two to three times a week for 12 weeks.
Over the next 2 years both groups improved. Muscle strength had improved more, on average, in the physical therapy group at the three-month checkup, but at the final two-year checkup, there was essentially no difference between the surgery and therapy groups, including in pain, ability to function in sports and recreation activities, and quality of life. The researchers noted that 19 percent of the therapy group opted to have surgery at some point but had achieved “no additional benefit” by the end of the study.
Conservative exercise therapy was equal to arthroscopic intervention overall, but also showed positive effects over surgery short-term muscle strength. Clinicians should consider conservative management and physical therapy in middle-aged patients with degenerative meniscal tears.
Comment: Degenerative meniscus tears are secondary to the arthritis. Surgery is not generally warranted.