News | Orthopedic Imaging | January 11, 2018

Weight Loss Through Exercise Alone Does Not Protect Knees

A new MRI study found that cartilage degeneration in the knee joint of overweight or obese patients was no different in those who lost weight through exercise alone than from those who lost no weight at all

Weight Loss Through Exercise Alone Does Not Protect Knees

January 11, 2018 – Obese people who lose a substantial amount of weight can significantly slow down the degeneration of their knee cartilage, but only if they lose weight through diet and exercise or diet alone, according to a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), Nov. 26-Dec. 1 in Chicago.

Obesity is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that affects more than a third of adults over the age of 60, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The knee joint is a common site of osteoarthritis, and in many people the condition progresses until total knee replacement becomes necessary.

"Once cartilage is lost in osteoarthritis, the disease cannot be reversed," said the study's lead author, Alexandra Gersing, M.D., from the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco.

Since cartilage loss cannot be reversed, it is important for people at risk of osteoarthritis or with early signs of the disease to slow the degeneration of cartilage. Weight loss has been shown to slow down cartilage degeneration in overweight and obese individuals, but it was unclear if the method used to lose weight made a difference.

Gersing and colleagues investigated cartilage degeneration and joint abnormalities over the course of 96 months in overweight and obese individuals who maintained stable weight and who lost weight via differing regimens.

The researchers studied 760 men and women with a body mass index of greater than 25 from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a nationwide research study focused on the prevention and treatment of knee osteoarthritis. The patients either had mild to moderate osteoarthritis or risk factors for the disease. Patients were divided into a group of 380 patients who lost weight, and a control group of 380 patients who lost no weight. The weight-loss group was further segmented by weight loss method: diet and exercise, diet alone and exercise alone. The researchers used MRI to quantify knee osteoarthritis at the beginning of the study, at 48 months and at 96 months.

Cartilage degeneration was significantly lower in the weight loss group, compared to the control group over the 96 months. However, this finding was only present among the patients who lost weight through diet and exercise or diet alone. Although patients who only exercised lost as much weight as patients who dieted alone or dieted and exercised, weight loss through exercise alone showed no significant difference in cartilage degeneration, compared to the group who lost no weight.

"These results add to the hypothesis that solely exercise as a regimen in order to lose weight in overweight and obese adults may not be as beneficial to the knee joint as weight loss regimens involving diet," Gersing said.

Co-authors on the study are Gabby B. Joseph, Ph.D., Benedikt J. Schwaiger, M.D., Charles E. McCulloch, Ph.D., Michael C. Nevitt, Ph.D., and Thomas M. Link, M.D., Ph.D.

For more information: www.rsna.org

Key RSNA 2017 Study Presentations, Trends and Video

Related Content

Chest X-ray AI Algorithm Correctly Identifies Lung Disease for Dubai Health Authority
Feature | Artificial Intelligence | April 17, 2018
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced the preliminary results of a chest X-ray artificial intelligence (AI)...
First Patient Treated in Online Adaptive Radiotherapy Trial With CyberKnife System
News | Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) | April 06, 2018
Accuray Inc. and Erasmus MC announced the first patient has been successfully treated using an online-adaptive (OA)...
News | Endoscopes | April 02, 2018
Results from a recent prospective trial found the Wide Area Transepithelial Sampling with 3D Tissue Analysis (WATS3D)...
The Neal Awards recognize the best in business-to-business editorial across standalone and integrated media channels

Editor Dave Fornell tries his hand at virtual reality at RSNA 2017.

News | Radiology Business | March 28, 2018
Imaging Technology News has been recognized with an award nomination from the Jesse H.
Edwards Completes Enrollment in PARTNER 3 Low-Risk CT Sub-Study
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | March 27, 2018
March 27, 2018 — Edwards Lifesciences Corp.
Combination Radiotherapy Beneficial in Treating Prostate Cancer
News | Prostate Cancer | March 27, 2018
March 27, 2018 — While there are many treatment options for men with...
3-D Printed Models Improve Medical Student Training
News | Medical 3-D Printing | March 23, 2018
March 23, 2018 — A relatively inexpensive...
Overlay Init