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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 Feb 28;12:56. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-12-56.

Radiographs and low field MRI (0.2T) as predictors of efficacy in a weight loss trial in obese women with knee osteoarthritis.

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  • 1The Parker Institute, Copenhagen University Hospital, Frederiksberg, Denmark.



To study the predictive value of baseline radiographs and low-field (0.2T) MRI scans for the symptomatic outcome of clinically significant weight loss in obese patients with knee osteoarthritis.


In this study we hypothesize that imaging variables assessed with radiographs and MRI scans pre-treatment can predict the symptomatic changes following a recommended clinically significant weight reduction Patients were recruited from the Department of Rheumatology, Frederiksberg Hospital, Denmark. Eligibility criteria were: age >18 years; primary osteoarthritis according to ACR; BMI > 28 kg/m2; motivation for weight loss. Subjects were randomly assigned to either intervention by low-energy diet (LED) for 8 weeks followed by another 24 weeks of dietary instruction or control-group. MRI scans and radiographs were scored for structural changes and these parameters were examined as independent predictors of changes in osteoarthritis symptoms after 32 weeks. The outcome assessor and statistician were blinded to group allocation.


No significant correlations were found between imaging variables and changes in Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Index of Osteoarthritis (Spearman's test, r < 0.33 and P > 0.07).Only the LED group achieved a weight loss, with a mean difference of 16.3 kg (95%CI: 13.4-19.2;P < 0.0001) compared to the control group. The total WOMAC index showed a significant difference favouring LED, with a group mean difference of - 321.3 mm (95%CI: -577.5 to -65.1 mm; P = 0.01). No significant adverse events were reported.


Stage of joint destruction, assessed on either radiographs or low-field MRI (0.2T), does not preclude a symptoms relief following a clinically relevant weight loss in elderly obese female patients with knee osteoarthritis.

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