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Suffer from Arthritis? Study Seeks to Learn if Weight Loss and Exercise Help
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Suffer from Arthritis? Study Seeks to Learn if Weight Loss and Exercise Help

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Suffer from Arthritis?

For older adults who suffer from knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, the future can look a bit bleak. But what if there was an opportunity to find relief, make some new friends and improve your lifestyle — all by becoming part of a research study?

Wake Forest University will be conducting a study on knee osteoarthritis, otherwise known as OA, within a community setting, thanks to a federal grant, and they need willing participants. Curious? Here are 5 facts about the study to help you decide if it’s right for you.

1. The study has passionate and dedicated scientists rooting for it to work

Does 28 years sound like a long while? That’s the amount of time that Wake Forest professor Steve Messier and his colleagues have studied the topic of osteoarthritis and how diet and exercise can affect its severity.

According to Messier, OA is the leading cause of disability in older adults, with more than 250 million people suffering from it. It’s safe to say the scientists behind these studies have your best interest at heart.

2. Wake Forest is bringing together a highly skilled and experienced team of scientists for the study

The National Institutes of Health have awarded this research team with the largest grant in the history of Wake Forest University, and the folks at Wake Forest are excited to share the process with a few other reputable institutions. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University, East Carolina University and the University of Sydney in Australia are all planned as co-investigators in the study.

3. Unlike earlier studies, this one will be less controlled and more realistic

The latest study, which is known as WE-CAN, – Weight Loss and Exercise for Communities with Arthritis in North Carolina – will put the many years that Messier and his colleagues have worked on clinical study results into what they called a “real-world setting.” The study will have more variables than controls, since it will care for people with knee osteoarthritis in a community setting.

4. The results of WE-CAN could be a game-changer for those with OA

Doctors often treat OA with surgery or medicines and haven’t had a “vehicle,” as Messier puts it, to assist their patients with lifestyle changes, WE-CAN will be an ideal component to achieving success with exercise and diet.

The ultimate goal is to inspire communities to establish easily assessable common fitness spots, such as churches and community recreation centers, in both rural and urban areas in which physicians can direct their patients for long term treatment with exercise and diet that is cost-effective, an important component that could make it attractive to insurance companies.

5. If you suspect you’re a candidate, you probably are

If participating in this new community study sounds appealing to you, there’s a probability you’re a candidate. Participants should be at least 50 years of age and overweight, with ongoing knee pain on most days. They will be grouped into two segments, with one as the “diet and exercise” group and one as the “nutrition and health” group. All in all, there is room for 820 adults (450 in Forsyth County) to take part in the study.

“This study is significant in that it will test the effectiveness of a long-awaited and much needed community-based program,” Messier says. “It will serve as a blueprint for clinicians and public health officials in both urban and rural communities.”

To learn more about this study, call 713-8539.


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