Traditional X-rays, move over—there may be a new gold standard for joint imaging to assess even the smallest changes that can signal the onset of arthritis, as reported recently in the journal Scientific Reports.1
Explore this issueNovember 2018
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Utilizing the combined expertise of radiologists, rheumatologists and engineers, University of Cambridge researchers developed an algorithm to monitor the joints of arthritis patients based on computed tomography (CT) scan images. The researchers used the technique, called joint space mapping (JSM), to analyze CT images of cadaver hip joints and found it could identify even the most nuanced narrowing of the space between bones. The technique, which uses color-coded images, was twice as sensitive as traditional diagnostic methods in showing small changes in joint structure.
Currently, arthritis treatment at its inception in a joint is limited, which may be due to the fact that early-stage arthritis is difficult to detect. “One of the major frustrations in the treatment of osteoarthritis is that we don’t currently have an effective cure other than a surgical joint replacement, which is costly, invasive and not without its own complications,” says lead author Tom Turmezei, MPhil, MA, BMBCh, PhD, FRCR,