Study to Look at effect of exercise and education on osteoarthritis

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Researchers at the Arizona Arthritis Center at the University of Arizona College of Medicine are investigating the effect of early interventions in the treatment of osteoarthritis, a condition currently affecting tens of thousands of Tucsonans.

Funded by $1.7 million from the National Institutes of Health, the study is a partnership among the Arizona Arthritis Center, the University of Arizona departments of physiology, psychology and nutritional science, and the Arizona State University department of psychology. The KNEE study, a Multidimensional Intervention in Early Osteoarthritis, is recruiting 300 men and women with early osteoarthritis of the knee to take part in a five-year study examining how exercise and education help people reduce arthritis pain and improve functional ability and quality of life.

While patient education and exercise are recommended as two mainstays of treatment, there are few well designed studies (most of them short-term) that utilize education, exercise, or both, as an intervention.

Participants will be provided with free screening X-rays, physical exams, computerized strength assessments, quality of life measures, and community-based arthritis programs involving education and exercise.

According to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arthritis and chronic joint symptoms affect nearly 70 million Americans, or about one of every three adults, making arthritis one of the most prevalent diseases (and the leading cause of disability) in the United States. In addition to the physical toll, the medical and societal costs of arthritis are enormous: medical care costs totaled $22 billion and the total costs, including medical care and loss of productivity, exceeded $82 billion in 1995. http://uanews.org

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