Ask the Researcher
Jeffery Driban, PhD, ATC, CSCS
Novel Assessment Strategies for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is characterized by multi-tissue organ failure of synovial joint(s) and is the most common form of arthritis. If a patient has a history of a knee injury then they are four times more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis (another way to think of this: if you tear your ACL or meniscus there is roughly a 50% chance you will have symptomatic osteoarthritis within 20 years). Globally, over 77 million people have symptomatic osteoarthritis and by 2050 it estimated that over 195 million people will suffer osteoarthritis. To mitigate the global burden of OA, researchers are pursuing disease-modifying interventions to slow, halt, or reverse disease progression. Unfortunately, there is still no FDA approved disease modifying osteoarthritis intervention. There are  numerous theories for why disease modifying interventions, which may work in animals, fail in humans (for example, the animal models don’t reflect human osteoarthritis, the measurements of osteoarthritis are not sensitivity enough, we treat patients to late in the disease process when we can no longer save the joint). Another reason why the treatments might not work is that osteoarthritis can be very variable among patients: some progressing faster than others, some with more severe pain, etc. Some researchers have proposed that osteoarthritis might not even be one disease but a collection of diseases with a common end-point.
My research interest is in exploring new quantitative assessment strategies for osteoarthritis using magnetic resonance imaging and biochemical markers. I have done research with animals and humans to explore how osteoarthritis develops and progresses as well as what might make one group of patients unique from another. I believe that by understanding the characteristics of each patient (or subset of patients) and their osteoarthritis we can target treatments more effectively to the correct patients and eventually find ways to prevent or at least slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
This week I will be glad to answer questions about osteoarthritis; including but not limited to risk factors for osteoarthritis, clinical evidence for interventions, disease progression, and emerging trends. I will try to answer your questions with objective responses and links to articles but some of these answers will represent my opinions on the available data and do not represent the opinions of SMR, the other collaborators to the blog, my research collaborators, or my medical institution.
I look forward to hearing from you and answering your questions.
Sample articles:
In the November 2010 NATA News Dr. Ryan Tierney and I also wrote an article discussing the need for sports medicine clinicians to take an active role in promoting our patient’s long-term quality of life.
Written by:  Jeffery Driban
Reviewed by:  Stephen Thomas