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Scientists make breakthrough in osteoarthritis treatment

May 21, 2012

Osteoarthritis is one of the most widespread health issues facing older adults, but scientists believe they have found a way to improve treatment. Researchers from the University of Missouri's Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory claim a new biomarker test may be able to predict the development of osteoarthritis before symptoms set in, which greatly increases the chances for treatment.

The test works by analyzing just a drop of fluid from a patient's joints. The innovative process was originally tested on dogs, but researchers are quick to point out that canine joints work much like those of human's. While the test is still awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration, it holds a great deal of potential in helping seniors enjoy healthy aging.

"With further validation, this test will allow doctors to adjust and fine tune treatments to individual patients," said James Cook, a researcher from the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. "Also, being able to tell patients when they are at a high risk for developing arthritis will give doctors a strong motivational tool to convince patients to take preventive measures including appropriate exercise and diet change."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 51.9 million Americans have some form of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being one of the most common types of the condition. According to WebMD, there are several steps individuals can take to help reduce their chances of developing osteoarthritis, including making tweaks to their diets.

Fruits and vegetables offer a number of well-known health benefits but they may also help prevent osteoarthritis. Antioxidants found in apples, onions and strawberries help reduce joint inflammation. Additionally, experts recommend getting enough vitamin C because the nutrient helps build collagen and connective tissue.