Those with the affliction currently treat it with Aspirin and Tylenol to reduce inflammation and pain, but researchers believe a drug inhibiting the complement system could be more effective
Elderly people suffering with osteoarthritis may have finally found a reason to smile and some hope on the horizon.
Contrary to current wisdom, osteoarthritis is not simply the product of wear and tear. A new study finds it is at least in part driven by the body's own immune system. This means that the painful condition -- thought by many to be irreversible -- can perhaps be prevented or cured in humans by blocking the inflammatory processes.
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Osteoarthritis, the most common joint disease in the U.S., affects nearly 27 million people, most of them elderly, and is associated with the breakdown of cartilage in joint areas, such as the knees, hips, fingers, and spine.
The study, by researchers at Stanford University of Medicine, first demonstrated that humans with osteoarthritis contain a high amount of proteins that are made when the body is under attack by a bacterial or viral infection. These proteins, called the complement system, attack the damaged joints just as they would attack a bacteria or virus. This sets off a cascade of events that result in the inflammation and severe pain associated with osteoarthritis.