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Arthritis may differ in men and women

When it comes to arthritis, researchers believe the pain is experienced differently in women than it is in men.  A Mayo Clinic surgeon now has a grant to look into this problem that affects about 27 million Americans.

“I’ve struggled with knee and joint pain a lot more in my golden years than I ever did before,” Joan Misnerll said.  “There are times when the pain is so bad it stops me from living my life, I just don’t want to move.”  This new study may help people like Misnerll who are looking for answers.

The Society for Women’s Health Research and its Interdisciplinary Studies in Sex-Differences Network on Musculoskeletal Health has awarded a group of researchers a $127,000 grant to lead a pilot project to understand whether biological differences between men and women affect osteoarthritis. 

“Knee osteoarthritis is a leading cause of disability in the U.S. and women have greater pain and reductions in function and quality of life from this condition than do men,” Dr. O’Connor says. “Knee osteoarthritis is also more common in women than men.”

The study will examine human tissues normally discarded during knee replacement surgery that is performed for severe osteoarthritis. The tissues will be analyzed for possible differences in pain fibers and hormone and vitamin D receptors between female and male patients.

“Our study will be the first to explore if there are true biological differences which result in women having this increased disease burden,” Dr. O’Connor says.

“Knee osteoarthritis is a devastating disease and one that may impact women differently than men. SWHR is pleased to have found deserving scientists to take on this research,” says Phyllis Greenberger, President and CEO of The Society for Women’s Health Research. “This research can benefit the multitudes of women suffering from the constant pain and inflammation of knee osteoarthritis.”