Osteoarthritis research needs to be intensified because new studies show that osteoarthritis has nothing to do with age-related wear and tear.
(09.09.2010) One in ten Germans complains of joint pain, five million have complaints from the breakdown of the articular cartilage and around two million Germans suffer from acute arthrosis. While doctors have long assumed that osteoarthritis is caused by age-related wear of the articular cartilage, recent studies have shown that there is no clear connection with age. According to this, the joint pain is triggered in most cases by one-off damage to the joint cartilage in the case of infections, inflammation, accidents, sports injuries or metabolic disorders.
“The disease does not arise from abrasion or wear and tear. In the beginning there is often a one-time damage to the articular cartilage, ”explains the President of the German Society for Rheumatology (DGRh) and Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Orthopedics at the University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf and the Clinic for Orthopedics at the Bad Bramstedt Clinic, Professor Wolfgang Rüther . Based on the new findings, the rheumatologists want to intensify their research on the treatment of arthrosis in the next few years, because so far "we (we) have known astonishingly little about the causes of arthrosis", says the general secretary of the German Society for Rheumatology (DGRh), Prof. Ekkehard Genth. In addition, there is still no therapy that can stop cartilage degradation. Therefore, from September 15, 2010, the experts at the 38th DGRh congress with around 2,000 participants want to discuss not only the causes but also new therapeutic approaches such as the transplantation of cartilage cells.
The President of the German Society for Rheumatology (DGRh), Professor Wolfgang Rüther, also emphasized that the degradation of the articular cartilage is not an age-related wear and tear and that years can pass from the first damage to the onset of osteoarthritis in which the patient feels no pain. An early diagnosis, which could also help alleviate symptoms in old age, is extremely difficult to this day. In addition, there are currently no drug or surgical treatment options to adequately counter the disease. It is the declared goal of the scientists to further intensify research activities and develop new therapies. The aforementioned transplantation of cartilage cells and tissue offers a first approach in this direction and has already been successful in treatment. So far, however, the method can only be used in patients with limited cartilage damage. "Unfortunately, the original tissue quality has not yet been restored," explained DGRh President Rüther and therefore calls for an even more intensive exchange across the individual subject boundaries. "It is important to find ways to intervene in the process of cartilage breakdown in close cooperation between rheumatologists, orthopedic surgeons and natural scientists," emphasized the expert. According to him, the current treatment approaches have so far mainly been limited to pain relief and to maintain joint mobility, although many people need an artificial joint with advanced disease. (fp)
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