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Concept: Joint


Cracking sounds emitted from human synovial joints have been attributed historically to the sudden collapse of a cavitation bubble formed as articular surfaces are separated. Unfortunately, bubble collapse as the source of joint cracking is inconsistent with many physical phenomena that define the joint cracking phenomenon. Here we present direct evidence from real-time magnetic resonance imaging that the mechanism of joint cracking is related to cavity formation rather than bubble collapse. In this study, ten metacarpophalangeal joints were studied by inserting the finger of interest into a flexible tube tightened around a length of cable used to provide long-axis traction. Before and after traction, static 3D T1-weighted magnetic resonance images were acquired. During traction, rapid cine magnetic resonance images were obtained from the joint midline at a rate of 3.2 frames per second until the cracking event occurred. As traction forces increased, real-time cine magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated rapid cavity inception at the time of joint separation and sound production after which the resulting cavity remained visible. Our results offer direct experimental evidence that joint cracking is associated with cavity inception rather than collapse of a pre-existing bubble. These observations are consistent with tribonucleation, a known process where opposing surfaces resist separation until a critical point where they then separate rapidly creating sustained gas cavities. Observed previously in vitro, this is the first in-vivo macroscopic demonstration of tribonucleation and as such, provides a new theoretical framework to investigate health outcomes associated with joint cracking.

Concepts: Magnetic resonance imaging, Observation, Joint, Synovial joint, Joints, Phenomenon, Cavitation, Cracking joints


BACKGROUND: Strontium ranelate is currently used for osteoporosis. The international, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled Strontium ranelate Efficacy in Knee OsteoarthrItis triAl evaluated its effect on radiological progression of knee osteoarthritis. METHODS: Patients with knee osteoarthritis (Kellgren and Lawrence grade 2 or 3, and joint space width (JSW) 2.5-5 mm) were randomly allocated to strontium ranelate 1 g/day (n=558), 2 g/day (n=566) or placebo (n=559). The primary endpoint was radiographical change in JSW (medial tibiofemoral compartment) over 3 years versus placebo. Secondary endpoints included radiological progression, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) score, and knee pain. The trial is registered (ISRCTN41323372). RESULTS: The intention-to-treat population included 1371 patients. Treatment with strontium ranelate was associated with smaller degradations in JSW than placebo (1 g/day: -0.23 (SD 0.56) mm; 2 g/day: -0.27 (SD 0.63) mm; placebo: -0.37 (SD 0.59) mm); treatment-placebo differences were 0.14 (SE 0.04), 95% CI 0.05 to 0.23, p<0.001 for 1 g/day and 0.10 (SE 0.04), 95% CI 0.02 to 0.19, p=0.018 for 2 g/day. Fewer radiological progressors were observed with strontium ranelate (p<0.001 and p=0.012 for 1 and 2 g/day). There were greater reductions in total WOMAC score (p=0.045), pain subscore (p=0.028), physical function subscore (p=0.099) and knee pain (p=0.065) with strontium ranelate 2 g/day. Strontium ranelate was well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with strontium ranelate 1 and 2 g/day is associated with a significant effect on structure in patients with knee osteoarthritis, and a beneficial effect on symptoms for strontium ranelate 2 g/day.

Concepts: Knee, Joint, Acupuncture, Strontium ranelate


This study, conducted in a group of nine chronic patients with right-side hemiparesis after stroke, investigated the effects of a robotic-assisted rehabilitation training with an upper limb robotic exoskeleton for the restoration of motor function in spatial reaching movements. The robotic assisted rehabilitation training was administered for a period of 6 weeks including reaching and spatial antigravity movements. To assess the carry-over of the observed improvements in movement during training into improved function, a kinesiologic assessment of the effects of the training was performed by means of motion and dynamic electromyographic analysis of reaching movements performed before and after training. The same kinesiologic measurements were performed in a healthy control group of seven volunteers, to determine a benchmark for the experimental observations in the patients' group. Moreover degree of functional impairment at the enrolment and discharge was measured by clinical evaluation with upper limb Fugl-Meyer Assessment scale (FMA, 0-66 points), Modified Ashworth scale (MA, 0-60 pts) and active ranges of motion. The robot aided training induced, independently by time of stroke, statistical significant improvements of kinesiologic (movement time, smoothness of motion) and clinical (4.6 ± 4.2 increase in FMA, 3.2 ± 2.1 decrease in MA) parameters, as a result of the increased active ranges of motion and improved co-contraction index for shoulder extension/flexion. Kinesiologic parameters correlated significantly with clinical assessment values, and their changes after the training were affected by the direction of motion (inward vs. outward movement) and position of target to be reached (ipsilateral, central and contralateral peripersonal space). These changes can be explained as a result of the motor recovery induced by the robotic training, in terms of regained ability to execute single joint movements and of improved interjoint coordination of elbow and shoulder joints.

Concepts: Time, Scientific method, Evaluation, Measurement, Assessment, Joint, Upper limb, Clavicle


PurposeIn this retrospective study we investigated the clinical and radiological outcome after operative treatment of acute Rockwood III-V injuries of the AC-joint using two acromioclavicular (AC) cerclages and one coracoclavicular (CC) cerclage with resorbable sutures. METHODS: Between 2007 and 2009 a total of 39 patients fit the inclusion criteria after operative treatment of acute AC joint dislocation. All patients underwent open reduction and anatomic reconstruction of the AC and CC-ligaments using PDS® sutures (Polydioxane, Ethicon, Norderstedt, Germany). Thirty-three patients could be investigated at a mean follow up of 32+/-9 months (range 24–56 months). RESULTS: The mean Constant score was 94.3+/-7.1 (range 73–100) with an age and gender correlated score of 104.2%+/-6.9 (88-123%). The DASH score (mean 3.46+/-6.6 points), the ASES score (94.6+/-9.7points) and the Visual Analogue Scale (mean 0.5+/-0,6) revealed a good to excellent clinical outcome. The difference in the coracoclavicular distance compared to the contralateral side was <5 mm for 28 patients, between 5-10 mm for 4 patients, and more than 10 mm for another patient. In the axial view, the anterior border of the clavicle was within 1 cm (ventral-dorsal direction) of the anterior rim of the acromion in 28 patients (85%). Re-dislocations occured in three patients (9%). CONCLUSION: Open AC joint reconstruction using AC and CC PDS cerclages provides good to excellent clinical results in the majority of cases. However, radiographically, the CC distance increased significantly at final follow up, but neither the amount of re-dislocation nor calcifications of the CC ligaments or osteoarthritis of the AC joint had significant influence on the outcome.Level of evidenceCase series, Level IV.

Concepts: Osteoarthritis, Joint, Joints, Ligament, Joint dislocation, Clavicle, Acromioclavicular joint, Acromion


BACKGROUND: In the last years, several methods and devices have been proposed to record the human mandibular movements, since they provide quantitative parameters that support the diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular disorders. The techniques currently employed suffer from a number of drawbacks including high price, unnatural to use, lack of support for real-time analysis and mandibular movements recording as a pure rotation. In this paper, we propose a specialized optical motion capture system, which causes a minimum obstruction and can support 3D mandibular movement analysis in real-time. METHODS: We used three infrared cameras together with nine reflective markers that were placed at key points of the face. Some classical techniques are suggested to conduct the camera calibration and three-dimensional reconstruction and we propose some specialized algorithms to automatically recognize our set of markers and track them along a motion capture session. RESULTS: To test the system, we developed a prototype software and performed a clinical experiment in a group of 22 subjects. They were instructed to execute several movements for the functional evaluation of the mandible while the system was employed to record them. The acquired parameters and the reconstructed trajectories were used to confirm the typical function of temporomandibular joint in some subjects and to highlight its abnormal behavior in others. CONCLUSIONS: The proposed system is an alternative to the existing optical, mechanical, electromagnetic and ultrasonic-based methods, and intends to address some drawbacks of currently available solutions. Its main goal is to assist specialists in diagnostic and treatment of temporomandibular disorders, since simple visual inspection may not be sufficient for a precise assessment of temporomandibular joint and associated muscles.

Concepts: Mandible, Joint, Motion capture, Temporomandibular joint, Temporomandibular joint disorder, Camera, Masseteric nerve


The paper presents a multifunctional joint sensor with measurement adaptability for biological engineering applications, such as gait analysis, gesture recognition, etc. The adaptability is embodied in both static and dynamic environment measurements, both of body pose and in motion capture. Its multifunctional capabilities lay in its ability of simultaneous measurement of multiple degrees of freedom (MDOF) with a single sensor to reduce system complexity. The basic working mode enables 2DOF spatial angle measurement over big ranges and stands out for its applications on different joints of different individuals without recalibration. The optional advanced working mode enables an additional DOF measurement for various applications. By employing corrugated tube as the main body, the sensor is also characterized as flexible and wearable with less restraints. MDOF variations are converted to linear displacements of the sensing elements. The simple reconstruction algorithm and small outputs volume are capable of providing real-time angles and long-term monitoring. The performance assessment of the built prototype is promising enough to indicate the feasibility of the sensor.

Concepts: Measurement, Joint, Classical mechanics, Angle, Motion capture, User interface, Reconstruction algorithm, Gait analysis


Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain is an under diagnosed source of low back pain due in part to lack of visible pathology on radiographs and symptoms mimicking other back-related disorders. Open SI joint fusion has been performed since the 1920s. This technique has fallen out of favor with the introduction of minimally invasive options. To date there has been no direct comparison between open and MIS SI joint fusion.

Concepts: Low back pain, Back pain, Symptoms, Joint, Sacroiliac joint, Joints


Knee osteoarthritis affects more than 250 million people and is a leading contributor to disability worldwide.(1) Persuasive evidence from randomized, controlled trials indicates that arthroscopic débridement, lavage, or both are no more effective than sham surgery and nonoperative alternatives for symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.(2),(3) Nevertheless, arthroscopic surgery is often still performed. A common justification for arthroscopic surgery is the presence of symptoms due to mechanical factors. These symptoms, such as locking or clicking or acute pain localized to one joint, are generally regarded as arising from a torn meniscus. However, asymptomatic meniscal tears are highly prevalent among people with knee . . .

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Greek loanwords, Knee, Anterior cruciate ligament, Joint, Surface tension, Arthroscopy, Tear of meniscus


The health of cloned animals generated by somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has been of concern since its inception; however, there are no detailed assessments of late-onset, non-communicable diseases. Here we report that SCNT has no obvious detrimental long-term health effects in a cohort of 13 cloned sheep. We perform musculoskeletal assessments, metabolic tests and blood pressure measurements in 13 aged (7-9 years old) cloned sheep, including four derived from the cell line that gave rise to Dolly. We also perform radiological examinations of all main joints, including the knees, the joint most affected by osteoarthritis in Dolly, and compare all health parameters to groups of 5-and 6-year-old sheep, and published reference ranges. Despite their advanced age, these clones are euglycaemic, insulin sensitive and normotensive. Importantly, we observe no clinical signs of degenerative joint disease apart from mild, or in one case moderate, osteoarthritis in some animals. Our study is the first to assess the long-term health outcomes of SCNT in large animals.

Concepts: Death, Osteoarthritis, Gerontology, Knee, Joint, Ageing, Cloning, Ligament


There is currently no biochemical test for detection of early-stage osteoarthritis (eOA). Tests for early-stage rheumatoid arthritis (eRA) such as rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibodies require refinement to improve clinical utility. We developed robust mass spectrometric methods to quantify citrullinated protein (CP) and free hydroxyproline in body fluids. We detected CP in the plasma of healthy subjects and surprisingly found that CP was increased in both patients with eOA and eRA whereas anti-CCP antibodies were predominantly present in eRA. A 4-class diagnostic algorithm combining plasma/serum CP, anti-CCP antibody and hydroxyproline applied to a cohort gave specific and sensitive detection and discrimination of eOA, eRA, other non-RA inflammatory joint diseases and good skeletal health. This provides a first-in-class plasma/serum-based biochemical assay for diagnosis and type discrimination of early-stage arthritis to facilitate improved treatment and patient outcomes, exploiting citrullinated protein and related differential autoimmunity.

Concepts: Antibody, Protein, Blood, Immunology, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Joint, Arthritis