Wed, Oct 14, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Researchers detect knee problems at an earlier stage

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A National Chung Cheng University (CCU) research program has created a technique using micro and nano-testing to detect deteriorating knee joints at an early stage in an effort to reduce problems associated with osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative joint disease.

With the new invention, physicians will be able to identify the source of the chronic disease and perform treatment at its early and moderate stage using minimally invasive procedures, a university statement said, adding that the more traumatic procedure of replacement arthroplasty could be decreased.

Citing statistics released by the Bureau of National Health Insurance in 2002, the university said the country spent NT$4 billion (US$125 million) a year treating the disease, the statement said.

In cooperation with the Joint Center of Buddhist Tzu Chi Dalin General Hospital in Chiayi County, university researchers found that most OA cases could be easily controlled with the less invasive procedure, the statement said.

Researchers combined the results from two sub-research projects, with the first one conducted by a research team headed by Jeng Yeau-jen (鄭友仁), CCU vice president and a professor at the CCU Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Jeng’s team succeeded in using a nano-indentation measurement technique to identify pathological changes in articular cartilage.

The other project was initiated by Chau Lai-kwan (周禮君), a professor at the CCU Department of Biochemistry. Researchers used fiber-optic localized plasmon resonance sensors to measure the pathological degree of an aging knee.

With the research results, the CCU and Tzu Chi hospital developed a comprehensive healthcare model for OA patients, using micro and nano-scale testing measurement, computer simulation models and biochemical methods to offer improved OA-targeted treatment services and increase the recovery rate, the statement said.

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