MRI Study Shows Weight Loss Preserves Knee Cartilage

Alexandra S. Gersing, MD Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging University of California, San Francisc

Dr. Gersing

MedicalResearch.com 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:  This 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.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Gersing:  Our study shows 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 not only regarding their knee cartilage but also regarding the improvement of their clinical symptoms comparison to the group with the obese groups with no or only little weight loss. Since the method we used allows for the assessment of very early molecular changes in the knee cartilage, our findings also suggest that weight loss should be achieved as early as possible.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Gersing:  Our initial work has suggested that not only obesity but also diabetes and metabolic syndrome have a negative impact on cartilage health. Systemic metabolic disorders are known to have an impact on many different organs and tissues in the human body, and also affect cartilage and bone health. We assume that obese patients with diabetes are at an even higher risk for early cartilage degeneration compared to healthy controls, and there is a need to investigate whether those abnormalities can be detected at an early stage using the molecular T2 mapping MRI technique.

Citation:

RSNA 2015 abstract discussing:

MRI Reveals Weight Loss Protects Knees

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Alexandra S. Gersing, MD (2015). MRI Study Shows Weight Loss Preserves Knee Cartilage MedicalResearch.com;

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