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October 5, 2012
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of diseases in modern elderly, and it is estimated that about 8.5 millions of today’s British citizens, including about 40 per cent of the Britons aged over 70, suffer from it. Osteoarthritis is a kind of arthritis linked to damage in joints caused by cartilage wearing out as a result of our daily activities. Unfortunately, for the moment there is no effective cure for this disease, but there are a few osteoarthritis treatment options which can be used to reduce the symptoms and pains related to this health condition. Those include mainly using medications, pain management technologies, little or moderate physical activities combined with plenty of rest, using various assistive devices (like grabbing and gripping tools, etc.), cortisone and lubrication injections, as well as home treatments and herbal remedies for osteoarthritis. Surgical procedures can be offered in the worst cases as another alternative treatment for osteoarthritis.
It is reported that a recent discovery by a group of scientists from the University of Newcastle could lead to creating a new very effective osteoarthritis treatment opportunity. After a series of scientific researches, the researchers found out that there are certain human DNA sections which get affected and can be responsible for the development of this health condition. Newcastle University expert group managed to define eight of such DNA sections, involved in production of cartilage, the very tissue in joints which gets damaged and causes this common health condition. It is believed that by altering or modifying these DNA sections it can be possible to make human body produce stronger cartilage tissue and treat/prevent osteoarthritis and other related diseases. This is a truly amazing breakthrough discovery of British scientists which can give hope to millions of arthritis and osteoarthritis sufferers around the world.
During the research, the experts looked at the data on almost 7,500 osteoarthritis patients, and the main part of the study was comparing their DNA sections to the ones of other participants who do not have osteoarthritis. Newcastle scientists are convinced that their findings published this summer in the journal Lancet, marked the first step on the way to a new osteoarthritis treatment. However, they underline the importance of further studies before coming up with a new approach to treating this health condition. ‘We would dearly like to use the information gathered to enable patients’ cells to be modified to ensure they make better cartilage. But it’s a long way off,” said Professor John Loughlin, one of the leaders of the scientific research group.
Professor Loughlin said that actually his scientific group has been going on working and researching the issue more thoroughly. In particular, they are trying to figure out what exact genes are responsible for fatal changes in cartilage tissues leading to osteoarthritis. In addition, they are working to find out if gene therapy as possible osteoarthritis treatment can be applicable to any patient who suffers from this disease. He says that his colleagues are close to using their findings for starting the first genetic tests aimed on making effective prediction who of the patients are at the highest risk of developing the disease. ‘It’s a major breakthrough, the largest study of its kind performed in this world to date,” Prof. Loughlin said. The scientists are especially interested in the fact that osteoarthritis has an obvious family history, making genetics one of the primary causes of this health condition.
Other specialists gave very positive comments on the findings of Newcastle scientific group. ‘This is a major breakthrough in our understanding of osteoarthritis which we hope will help us to unlock the genetic basis of the disease,’ said Professor Alan Silman,a consultant rheumatologist at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and medical director of Arthritis Research UK. He said that osteoarthritis is one of the diseases which is not easy to to diagnose, and it takes on average three years to aging sufferers to start receiving a proper osteoarthritis treatment. According to the expert, currently this diseases causes over 3 billion pounds loss in working time, and it is estimated that by the year 2030, the number of osteoarthritis sufferers will increase up to 17 million, mainly due to increasing obesity rates in modern society. You can find more information about the findings and comments of the experts as to potential treatment for osteoarthritis in this article.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.