Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is one of the leading causes of disability in the US. Sixteen percent of adults over the age of 45 years have knee osteoarthritis, with women being affected more than men. Annual costs associated with arthritis and related disorders are up to $120 Billion in the US.
In spite of the tremendous socio-economic impact of osteoarthritis on the population, there is currently no "cure" for this disease. Individuals affected by osteoarthritis of the hip or the knee undergo long periods of disability and poor quality of life and some of them go on to have joint replacement surgeries.
One of the critical challenges associated with tackling this disease lies in being able to identify it early, before the damage to the joints becomes irreversible. Currently, the diagnosis of osteoarthritis is made on the basis of X-rays which detect the disease too late.
The impact of our research lies in developing sensitive MRI techniques that can potentially detect the disease much earlier in individuals, who may be at risk of developing osteoarthritis. Early detection may enable early intervention, thus preventing future joint damage.
Our research also aims to develop MRI techniques which can be used to monitor the efficacy of new interventions including drugs, exercise programs, and surgeries for individuals with ACL injuries of the knee, knee osteoarthritis, hip impingement, and hip osteoarthritis.