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Arthritis detection tool designed

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Scientists are one step closer to producing a device enabling GPs to listen to noises in the knee indicating the presence of osteoarthritis

A team of researchers used a technique called acoustic emission, which generally detects unsafe bridges and buildings in the engineering industry, to monitor degeneration in the joints.

Professor John Goodacre and Professor Lik-Kwan Shark of Lancaster University and UCLan, who led a team of 50 people on the project for two years, found that noises emitted by arthritic knees were different to those produced by healthy knees.

“We found that that by measuring and analysing high frequency sounds released within knee joints during movement we could tell whether or not the person had osteoarthritis of the knee, and also their age group,” explained Professor Goodacre.

He added that the research, which was funded by Arthritis Research UK, provided an excellent basis for the development of a small, portable piece of equipment which could be used by GPs, hospital doctors and nurses to quickly assess patients with knee osteoarthritis.

“At the moment it’s looking very optimistic, and I can envisage that this device could be used as both an early diagnostic tool for GPs, and potentially as a quick, simple means of detecting the progression of osteoarthritis, reducing the need for MRI or other expensive, and less accessible techniques,” he explained.

Click here to see the Lancaster University article

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