An Interview with Dr. Anthony Beutler and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
Anthony Beutler, MD, is the Chair of the Collaborative Research Network at AMSSM.
1. What is your organization’s interest in the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance?
The nearly 3,500 members of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine are board-certified sports medicine physicians who care for active individuals of all ages. As primary care physicians, we recognize the central role of activity and exercise in health and wellness. We specialize in a “whole person,” individualized approach to improving the health and performance of each patient. As such, osteoarthritis is one of our most common enemies! As team physicians at the high school, college, professional, and Olympic level, we are actively involved in research to prevent the injuries that predispose to arthritis and to more effectively treat osteoarthritis. We also clinically treat many people with osteoarthritis every day.
2. What do you think is the most important issue today related to osteoarthritis?
There are many “most important” issues in OA today. But I would say that there are two that are tied for the top. First, we really need a proven “disease modifying drug” for OA. We have them for almost every other kind of arthritis. But modifying the outcome of OA by pharmacologic means remains a mystery. Second, we need to figure out more effective ways to engage our patients in treatments that are proven to effectively decrease osteoarthritis morbidity, namely exercise and weight loss. Since these most effective treatments are directly counter to the twin plagues of obesity and inactivity currently sweeping the industrialized world, finding the right way to engage with patients to do the things only they can do in OA care is very important.
3. How does your work connect to issues in osteoarthritis?
As mentioned previously, our members work in all aspects of osteoarthritis prevention and treatment. In 2015, AMSSM published a scientific statement on the use of viscosupplementation injections for osteoarthritis. Additionally, our Collaborative Research Network is actively soliciting study ideas for novel osteoarthritis treatments and protocols. With nearly 3,500 physician members performing ultrasound guided injections paired with tailored osteoarthritis treatment recommendations every day, we are very interested in multi-centered, randomized-controlled trials of all types of osteoarthritis treatments.
4. What is a headline you’d like to see about osteoarthritis in five years?
Obviously the headline ALL of us would like to see is “New Treatment Reverses Osteoarthritis Damage.” Heck, I’d even be happy with “New Treatment Halts Osteoarthritis.” Until then, we keep looking for ways to keep people healthy and moving despite OA. It is intriguing to me that following ACL injury roughly 80% of individuals will experience early OA. While that is very sad statistic, it also offers some hope: what about the other 20% that does NOT progress to OA? What makes them different? How can we make more people more like them?
5. What is one interesting fact you’d like people to know about your organization?
We are 3,500 sports medicine physicians. Each of our members is a trained primary care physician who believes in taking care of the whole person. We’re not surgeons and we’re not physical therapists, but as sports physicians we lead multidisciplinary teams that include these and other exercise professionals to care for athletes and active people of all ages as we strive to lead sports medicine into the future!