Welcome to the weekly Research Roundup! This newsletter presents the latest osteoarthritis-relevant peer-reviewed publications, funding opportunities and current study recruitment. Have a publication you would like us to feature? Please email us at oaaction@unc.edu. Looking for our biweekly publication?

In this issue: June 26- July 2, 2017

  • Featured Research
  • Osteoarthritis Research This Week
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Current Study Recruitment

Featured Research

Osteoarthritis Prevalence in Retired National Football League Players With a History of Concussion and Lower Extremity Injury

Lynall, R.C, et al., Journal of Athletic Training

Dynamic balance deficits have been described after concussion, even after athletes return to full play. Persistent alterations in neuromuscular control may increase the risk of a lower extremity (LE) injury. Additionally, changes in movement biomechanics and joint loading after concussion have been implicated as potential risk factors in the development of chronic disability and joint degeneration. The aim of this study was to examine the association of concussion and LE injury with the prevalence of osteoarthritis (OA) in retired NFL players, who represent a unique and available cohort of athletes who frequently sustain concussions and LE injuries.

Retired NFL players (n = 3226) who had completed the Health Survey of Retired NFL Players were included in the study. Data were collected on demographic information, years playing NFL football, number of concussions sustained, frequency of specific LE injuries, and presence of OA. Researchers categorized the number of concussions (0, 1, 2, or 3+) and the number of LE injuries (0, 1, or 2+), and then created 12 discrete categories, ranging from individuals with 0 concussions and 0 LE injuries to individuals with 3+ concussions and 2+ LE injuries. Binomial regression models were used to model the lifetime prevalence of OA, controlling for BMI, number of years playing in the NFL, and current age.

Lifetime prevalence of OA increased with the number of LE injuries, with the prevalence of OA in the 2+ LE injury group being 70% higher than in the 0 LE injuries group. Using the 12-category exposure variables, prevalence of OA was smallest in the 0 concussion/0 LE injuries group (21.1%) and largest in the 3+ concussions/2+ LE injuries group (50.6%). Participants in all concussion groups (1, 2, 3+) who reported a history of 0 LE injuries had a greater OA prevalence than the referent group. The impact of concussion and LE injury was stronger among those younger than 55 years of age compared with those older than 55 years of age.

Researchers concluded that concussion with or without a history of LE injury may be an important moderator of OA.

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