Modeling musculoskeletal diseases: from epidemiology to quality of life

Osteoarthritis (OA), which results in the breakdown of joint cartilage, is the most common form of arthritis. Despite much research on the condition, there is no primary prevention strategy for the disease. Macro-level studies evaluating different prevention and treatment strategies are also needed. In collaboration with colleagues in Canada, the US and Europe, Dr. Jacek Kopec is conducting three osteoarthritis studies. The first involves the development of a computer simulation model of OA. The model will synthesize data from different sources, creating the world’s largest database simulating the nature history of OA. Results from this study will be used to assess prevention strategies and develop optimal treatments for the disease. The second study investigates whether or not moderate physical activity can cause OA. The third study focuses on patients’ preferences about different treatment options for OA of the hip and knee. As part of the study Dr. Kopec is developing a questionnaire that can be adapted to individual respondents, making the assessment more precise and efficient than previous questionnaires. The studies as a whole could advance knowledge of osteoarthritis and improve treatment of the condition.