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Females, Older, Overweight at Higher Risk of Knee Defects

Knee cartilage defects may be a sign of early osteoarthritis

MONDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- Females, as well as older and overweight people, are at higher risk of knee cartilage defects that may be a sign of early osteoarthritis, researchers report in the March 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Changhai Ding, M.D., of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, and colleagues examined knee cartilage defects, cartilage volume and bone surface area by T1-weighted fat-saturated magnetic resonance imaging in 325 subjects with a mean age of 45 years, at baseline and after two years.

The researchers found that knee cartilage defects improved in 37 percent and worsened in 33 percent of subjects. A worsening of knee cartilage defects was associated with female sex (odds ratio 3.09 and 3.64 in the medial and lateral tibiofemoral compartments), body mass index (OR, 1.08 in the lateral tibiofemoral compartment), age (OR, 1.05 per year in the medial tibiofemoral compartment), area of tibial bone (OR, 1.24 and 2.07 per square cm), cartilage volume (OR, 2.91 and 1.71 per mL in the medial tibiofemoral and patellar compartments), and tibiofemoral osteophytes (OR 6.22 and 6.04 per grade). Improvements in cartilage defects were similarly associated with these factors except for female sex, according to the study.

The authors state that the findings suggest "a role for these in the pathogenesis of cartilage defects."

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