Posted: Tue 24th Jan 2017

Osteoarthritis Smart Patch

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jan 24th, 2017

A team from the University’s School of Engineering are hoping to create a smart patch to detect the early onset of osteoarthritis (OA) in patients’ knees. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They are exploring the use of damage sensors from aircraft wings to catch subsonic cracking sounds in joints before the disease fully develops. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A smart patch could help save millions of pounds spent on diagnosis via X-ray and MRI scans, as well as improving the lives of patients through targeted, bespoke treatments. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Arthritis Research UK estimates 8.75 million people in the UK have sought treatment for OA. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

When human joints develop OA, they can make audible clicking noises during movement due to damage, otherwise known as crepitus. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In the early stages of the disease, these rubbing noises are confined to higher, non-audible frequencies and so the researchers are looking at ways to capture these noises. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Dr Davide Crivelli, of the School of Engineering, told BBC News: “The idea has got huge potential to change the way we diagnose osteoarthritis… ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Professor Cathy Holt, Director of the University’s musculoskeletal biomechanics research facility, said a cheap means of early diagnosis could be a real boon. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The key thing is most people, once they have got joint pain, it’s too late – they have got the disease already. Whereas, there might be points where we can intervene earlier,” she told the BBC. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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