Author Interviews, Rheumatology, UCSF, Weight Research / 07.12.2015 Interview with: Alexandra S. Gersing, MD Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging University of California, San Francisco Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Gersing: ┬áThis study is part of a larger NIH-funded project focusing on the effects of weight change in individuals at risk for and with osteoarthritis. Our group has previously shown that weight gain causes substantial worsening of knee joint degeneration in patients with risk factors for osteoarthritis and now we aimed to show that weight loss could protect the knee joint from degeneration and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is one of the major causes of pain and disability worldwide; and cartilage plays a central role in the development of joint degeneration. Since cartilage loss is irreversible, we wanted to assess whether lifestyle interventions, such as weight loss, could make a difference at a very early, potentially reversible stage of cartilage degradation and whether a certain amount of weight loss is more beneficial to prevent cartilage deterioration. To measure these early changes we used a novel Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique, called T2 mapping, which allows us to evaluate biochemical cartilage degradation in the patient on a molecular level. The most relevant finding of this study is that patients with more that 10% of weight loss benefited significantly more from losing weight compared to the obese controls that did not lose weight or only lost little weight. (more…)