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Osteo Report | May 2019


According to the latest research, almost 10 million people in the UK now live with osteoarthritis. A quite staggering figure.

Given its prevalence, it’s perhaps unsurprising that it’s regularly the focus of news articles, blog posts and videos, many of which touch on the latest scientific research.

Each month, the Flexiseq team scours the web for the osteoarthritis-related stories that have caught our eye.

Here’s our latest roundup…
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Last autumn, Unity Biotechnology, who develop medicines that potentially halt, slow or reverse age-associated disease, began Phase 1 clinical testing their new drug UBX0101 on humans in the US.

When preliminary results are released in a few weeks time, it's hoped they show the drug, which was injected directly into affected knees, successfully reversing or slowing the effects of osteoarthritis. Only 12 percent of drugs that enter clinical trials in the US are successful, so it's a long shot. That said, millions of people around the world (and those funding the research) will be hoping they’ve hit the jackpot.

Intriguingly, report Bloomberg, Unity believe that the 'senolytic medicine' behind the drug could be used to tackle all manner of other age-related conditions including heart disease, glaucoma, strokes. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for wrinkles and baldness too!

The Sun, quoting a study by the Journal of Anatomy, reports that a tiny knee bone - the fabella - which was thought to be near extinction is making a comeback and ‘could be causing osteoarthritis’. New research claims that the fabella is now found in 39 percent of adults around the world, up from 11 percent in 1918.

Just to be clear, there's no evidence of a link between having a fabella and developing osteoarthritis but if you have the latter it appears you're twice as likely to have the former. Dr. Michael Berthaume who works at Imperial College London's Department of Bioengineering admits nobody knows what the bone is for and reckons it could become known as 'the appendix of the skeleton'.

To the International Space Station...yes, seriously...where astronauts will be testing a tissue-chip system that it’s hoped could identify the root cause of post-traumatic osteoarthritis. Why are tests taking place outside the earth's atmosphere? Good question. Scientists at MIT are using the microgravity of space to better model the complex interactions between bone, cartilage and other joint tissue.

Back to Earth. Did you know that Councils in England have a duty under the Care Act 2014 to provide aids and adaptations to people who cannot perform two or more tasks needed for daily living, such as washing and dressing? The Daily Express reports that Versus Arthritis has called on local authorities to provide adequate information on the support available in the hope that Britain's homes are upgraded for those with reduced mobility or who have a disability.

Considerable.com, an online publication that focuses on what it means to grow older, shares its tips for helping your osteoarthritis. It emphasises the importance of staying active and recommends activities including yoga, swimming, pilates, weight training and using gym cycling machines. It says: "Whether you lose weight through diet or exercise, you’ll find that getting to a healthier weight will help your joints hurt less."

Finally, ESPN report that one of golf’s most colourful characters, John Daly, has been approved to use a cart in next week's PGA Championship because the arthritis in his right knee hinders his ability to walk long distances. He'll be the first player to use a cart in a major championship in seven years. Daly said of the situation: "My knee is screwed. I had the meniscus cut out. I have osteoarthritis so bad...I can walk up a hill, I just can't walk down one."

No doubt, the millions of amateur golfers living with osteoarthritis will be cheering you on John. Best of luck!

Further Reading

Osteo Report April 2019

Osteo Report Feb / March 2019