Page 14 - Bauerfeind life international_02_2012

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magazine 2012/2
Pictures: Werbefotografie Weiss, Bauerfeind
and sternum,” wonders Professor Kohn, an
orthopedic specialist, “even though there
aren’t any weight-bearing joints in these
areas at all?” The physician, whose list of
publications on osteoarthritis runs to sev-
eral pages, is reluctant to waste his breath
on this: “We simply don’t know.” But do our
genes have anything to do with it? There
are some families where even elderly mem-
bers develop no signs of osteoarthritis. With
other families, by contrast, many members
find themselves affected by joint disease.
Even the diagnostics in this area are beset
with uncertainty. “Osteoarthritis can be
identified objectively on the basis of X-ray
>>> Out of 1,000 patients undergoing a knee
arthroscopy, some 600 were found to have hy-
aline cartilage damage. Almost half of these
defects were caused by osteoarthritis (
K. et al.; see references
). Joints bearing the
weight of the body are at particular risk. This
is especially true of the knee. Between six
and eight million people in Germany have
osteoarthritis of the knee. Almost half of
those aged over 45 and almost all of those
aged over 75 have knee symptoms associated
with osteoarthritis. A typical example of a
common condition. The pressing question
still remains unanswered, however. Why is
osteoarthritis such a huge problem? Why do
cartilage defects (in adults) not just regene-
rate? Could it have something to do with the
fact that cartilage has no blood supply? Does
the synovial fluid, the liquid in the joints,
prevent regeneration? Does another, comple-
tely unrelated factor play a decisive role? Des-
pite a plethora of studies, including attempts
to multiply cartilage cells under laboratory
conditions, there is no currently no prospect
of a cause-based therapy to combat loss of
joint cartilage.
Five million steps leave their mark
As if all this were not enough. “Why do we
keep seeing osteoarthritis of the collarbone
Prof. Dieter Kohn, Director of the orthopedic clinic and polyclinic at the Saarland University Hospital, Germany, talking to life magazine.