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Yet another reason not to smoke cigarettes
3 May 2007
A team at
the Menzies Research Institute
are the first to demonstrate the harmful effects of cigarette smoking
on knee osteoarthritis (OA), primarily with a person with a family
history of knee OA.
It is common knowledge that cigarette
smoking is associated with an increased risk of common diseases, such
as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, stroke, and
rheumatoid arthritis, but until now research has suggested that smokers
have a lower risk of developing knee OA.
Menzies’ research published this week in
the leading arthritis journal in the world, Arthritis and Rheumatism,
conflicts with previous studies and provides significant evidence that
smoking leads to knee cartilage loss and defect development largely in
persons whose family has suffered from knee OA.
Investigators Dr Changhai Ding and
Professor Graeme Jones say that the difference between the Menzies’
study and previous studies related to smoking and knee OA is the
imaging equipment used.
we have conducted one of the largest Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
based studies on knee cartilage health so far, where as previous
studies on the relationship between knee OA and smoking have used x-ray
“X-rays can only show the space between
the bones and not cartilage directly therefore are not necessarily
accurate, but an MRI can directly assess cartilage volume and splits in
cartilage,” Professor Jones said.
Professor Jones states the message from
this research study is simple. “If you have a parent who has suffered
from knee osteoarthritis you should think twice about continuing or
taking up smoking.”
Osteoarthritis is a highly prevalent and
costly disease, affecting more than 3.4 million Australians. It has
been designated a National Health Priority due to its extent and its
Tasmanian research studies have found a
high prevalence of OA and osteoporosis in Tasmanian community,
especially in the older population (more than 30%). Nearly 200 total
knee replacements are performed for knee OA in Southern Tasmania every
Cost-effective interventions and continued
research and development to delay the onset of osteoarthritis offer
potential for substantial reductions in the future projected costs and
burden of the disease.
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