3D Imaging Technique Could Improve Arthritis Treatment

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Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England have designed a new technique to monitor joint damage in people with arthritis and detect tiny changes in the joints – a development that could lead to better understanding about how arthritis progresses. With this improved understanding, the researchers hope to be able to assess the effectiveness of treatments more accurately and develop new ones.

The most common type of arthritis – osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear in the joints – is typically diagnosed using X-rays to detect narrowing in the spaces between the bones in a joint, indicating loss of cartilage. But X-rays produce two-dimensional (2D) images, must be interpreted by a radiologist, and are not sensitive enough to detect subtle changes in the joint over time.

The new technique, called joint space mapping, uses three-dimensional (3D) images of the joints produced by computerized tomography (CT) scans and an algorithm. In the future, this method could be used to screen those at increased risk, diagnose the condition earlier, and monitor progression.

Sourced from: Scientific Reports