This site is intended for health professionals only

Arthritis detection tool developed

A device allowing doctors and nurses to test for and monitor osteoarthritis has been developed by scientists at Lancaster University.

The item works by using a technique called acoustic emissions - usually employed to test the structural strength of buildings and bridges - to listen to soundwaves emitted by the knees.

It was made after a two-year study involving more than 50 people discovered that arthritic knee joints made different noises to their healthy counterparts.

Research leaders Professor John Goodacre and Professor Lik-Kwan Shark said: "We found that by measuring and analysing high frequency sounds released within knee joints during movement we could tell whether or not the person had osteoarthritis of the knee, and also their age group.

"At the moment it's looking very optimistic, and I can envisage that this device could be used as both an early diagnostic tool for GPs, and potentially as a quick, simple means of detecting the progression of osteoarthritis, reducing the need for MRI or other expensive, and less accessible techniques."

The project was funded by Arthritis Research UK.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Lancaster University