New York: MRI-like scanners can detect the debilitating disease, osteoarthritis, at a stage when it can be treated with nutraceuticals, a conference has been told.
The test, a form of the MRI scan used in hospitals every day, could catch osteoarthritis when it is still in the early stages, preventing or reducing damage to the joints.
Treatment usually consists of a powerful drugs with horrible side-effects, physiotherapy and, in some cases, replacement of the affected knee, hip or other joint.
Normally doctors relying on physical examinations and X-rays for diagnosis, which means the disease it not caught early enough.
Osteoarthritis damages the cushioning material between the bones including cartilage.
Researcher Dr Alexej Jerschow, of New York University, used the MRI scanner to measure levels of glycosaminoglycan, the compound that makes the cartilage tough and elastic.