August 20, 2008
Scanning Technique Detects Aging Joint Wear

A report about a new imaging technology for osteoarthritis diagnosis mentions yet another example of why we should want to defeat and reverse the aging process. Half the people over the age of 65 have osteoarthritis.

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 20, 2008 A newly developed medical imaging technology may provide doctors with a long-awaited test for early diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA), scientists from New York reported today at the 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. By far the most common form of arthritis, OA is a bane of the Baby Boom generation, causing joint pain and disability for more than half of those over 65 nearly 21 million people in the United States.

You stand a pretty good chance of spending a substantial part of your life in pain.

Magnetic resonance imaging can detect low levels of vital joint polymer glycosaminogycan (GAG) as an indication of osteoarthritis.

The new method uses a modified form of magnetic resonance imaging to determine the concentration of a polymer known as glycosaminogycan (GAG) that holds lots of water and gives cartilage its tough, elastic properties. GAG also is a recognized biomarker for both osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease a common cause of back pain. According to Jerschow, a low concentration of GAG is known to correlate with the onset of osteoarthritis and other cartilage disorders.

The diagnostic "tags" the hydrogen atoms attached to the GAGs in a way that makes them emit a signal that can be picked up by an MRI machine to determine the concentration of GAG and assess cartilage health.

Advanced OA is very easy to diagnose, Regatte points out. By then, however, joint replacement may be the only option. With early detection, physicians could prescribe dietary supplements, medication or other measures to ward off further cartilage damage.

Some day we'll have stem cell therapies and gene therapies to do joint rejuvenation. Before getting treated will we first get ourselves scanned for signs of deterioration? I'm thinking if joint stem cell therapies become available in 10 to 15 years for anyone over 40 treatment will make sense. Why even let the earliest stages of deterioration to happen before restoring joints to youthful condition?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 August 20 10:27 PM  Aging Measurements


Comments
Allan said at August 21, 2008 12:27 PM:

glycosaminogycan (GAG - Will taking Glucosomine, Chondroitin, and MSM help?

Randall Parker said at August 21, 2008 9:21 PM:

Allan,

Count me in the ranks of skeptics on the benefits of Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

Fly said at August 22, 2008 8:47 PM:

I've read studies that show modest benefit from glucosamine and slight benefit from chondroitin in cases of RA.

When I exercise too much I have significant knee problems. For awhile I took glucosamine. It may have been slightly beneficial but the pain persisted. Eventually I stopped exercising so much and stopped taking glucosamine and the pain gradually went away. The lesson for me was clear...my body is aging and requires less stressful exercise and more slow healing, glucosamine doesn't make up for an aging body.

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