New York, NY—February 4, 2010
"Like the Arthritis Foundation, we are focusing our extensive clinical and research resources on raising awareness of the potentially debilitating effects of osteoarthritis in this country," said Stephen Paget, M.D., physician-in-chief and chair of the division of rheumatology at HSS. "We applaud the efforts of the Arthritis Foundation and the Ad Council as they begin a multi-year initiative to improve the understanding of osteoarthritis, and we join them with our commitment to identify better methods to diagnose, treat and prevent the disease," Dr. Paget continued.
Hospital for Special Surgery has the largest group of rheumatologists of any hospital in the country. With a focus on muscle, bone and joint pain, orthopedic surgeons, rheumatologists, physiatrists, radiologists and pain management specialists attend to 240,000 patient visits annually.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. It affects more than 27 million Americans, mostly adults over the age of 65, and is a leading cause of disability in the U.S. While the painful symptoms of OA can be easily recognized, scientists continue research on its root causes. With prevalence of the disease expected to rise within the next decade, OA, because it affects so many, is considered one of the most urgent research challenges of the 21st century.
Traditionally OA has been associated with an older demographic, but as active baby boomers age and obesity rates rise, increasing numbers of younger people are developing OA symptoms.
According to Louis A. Shapiro, president and CEO of HSS, "Our scientists and clinicians are innovating both nonsurgical and surgical treatments that will slow the progression of osteoarthritis, and combining multi-disciplinary approaches to identify risk factors, and to prevent and reduce inflammation at its onset."
While the key is prevention through education, there is a great deal of research occurring around treatment as well. "One key focus of our research," according to Thomas P. Sculco, M.D., Surgeon-in-Chief at HSS, "is identifying new and better surgical solutions for advanced cases involving novel biomaterials, the development of inventive implant designs and minimally invasive surgical techniques. Joint replacement registries will also play a central role in benefiting the next generation in a national effort."
"Through our broad-reaching campaign, we hope to make a difference in the lives of those who have arthritis," said John H. Klippel, M.D., president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. "There are steps people can take today that can change the course of this disease. We are proud to have Hospital for Special Surgery helping with others to communicate the preventative steps and demonstrate the treatment success that is now possible for people with osteoarthritis."
Complementing the Arthritis Foundation’s extensive educational outreach, Special Surgery offers patient education with classes for early stage and postoperative care. A team of dedicated professionally trained physical therapists, led by Vice President Rehabilitation JeMe Cioppa-Mosca, PT, is focused on restoring patient function before or after surgery. In addition, The Joint Mobility Center provides comprehensive rehabilitative services tailored to patients with musculoskeletal problems resulting from OA of the shoulders, hips, knees and spine.
"Knowledge is a great healer," said Laura Robbins, DSW, vice president of education and academic affairs at HSS and past chair of the Arthritis Foundation. "At HSS we have a broad spectrum of community-based programs focused on prevention offered through our Education Division and we recently introduced a comprehensive online resource on OA at www.hss.edu/osteoarthritis. The public awareness and voice for osteoarthritis that this new campaign provides – coupled with the knowledge scientists and clinicians now seek – make this initiative an important public health advance for every American."