Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disease that generally affects middle-aged and older adults. This condition causes progressive damage to the joint cartilage, bringing about changes in the joint structure such as fluid accumulation, bone overgrowth and loosening and weakness of muscles and tendons. It can result in chronic joint pain and swelling and impair movement to a great extent.
A team of researchers at Manchester University recently reported that regular mealtimes could help keep arthritis at bay. Their study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, suggests that tiny biological clocks inside cartilage cells are the key to controlling the disease. These biological clocks in the joints contain thousands of genes that keep cartilage healthy and prevent osteoarthritis from setting in, say the researchers.
The study suggests that regular mealtimes along with exercise at a set time each day could help keep the tiny biological clocks in the joints strong. When the tiny biological clocks are working properly, the genes are timed to be more or less active at different times of the day and night, directly repairing any damage in the cartilage in a series of steps.
One of the most common forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis is characterized by the wear and tear of the cartilage which helps our joints perform activities like bending, gripping, lifting and kneeling. In New York health care centers, physical therapy exercises and pain medication are the main non-surgical treatment methods for the condition. Joint replacement surgery is recommended only as the last resort.
The Manchester University team also noted that the aging could affect the process. Aging weakens the ticking process and ultimately stops the repair from being carried out properly. The study found that the levels of a key body clock protein called BMAL1 falls as osteoarthritis worsens.
These findings point to the importance of a routine, gentle exercise regimen and timely meal to keep osteoarthritis at bay. If the biological clocks are working properly, it would delay the onset of the condition in the healthy and also relieve pain in those already affected. In most cases, arthritis patients find that their symptoms get worse at certain times of the day and the results of this study reveal a likely biological basis for this. The findings of this study are expected to be useful to develop new treatments and pain management practices for this chronic condition.