Degeneration of structures in and around joints is the most common changes in the musculoskeletal system. Osteoarthritis, OA, as defined by clinical symptoms and radiographic abnormalities, affects more that 10% of the adult population. Certain joints are more prone to degeneration with the knee as the most prevalent, while similarly frequent in certain finger joints, indicating a more complex nature of the disease than just being a result of wear and tear. Heritable factors are of importance, but trauma are key factors. Epidemiological studies point at obesity as important for both precipitation of OA and for deterioration of OA, affecting both knees and finger joints.
The Parker Institute is involved in studies of OA especially with development of advanced imaging diagnostics and clinical interventions. The MRI has demonstrated a much wider involvement of periarticular structures than hitherto acknowledged. The full importance of abnormalities in soft tissues around the knee remains to be elucidated. Treatment of OA has been concentrated on pain relief, while recently focus has been on modifiable prognostic factors including weight loss and functional status. The PI will look into aspects of inflammation as a co-factor in the pathogenesis of OA and the possibilities of treatment of the inflammation will be further exploited.