A smart patch could detect early onset of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis affects 8.75 million people in the UK accordingly to Arthritis Research UK, with patients suffering pain and discomfort as well as grating and clicking noises in the affected joints, largely in the later stages of the disease. At this point, it’s often too late for treatment. Interestingly however, in the early stages of osteoarthritis the joints still make a clicking sound but these early stage sounds are inaudible as they are confined to a higher frequency.

If an early diagnosis of osteoarthritis could be made in the GP surgery or perhaps via self-monitoring linked to an app, there may be limited or no need for expensive imaging costs which could mean a huge saving for the NHS and potentially better outcomes for the patient.

Scientists at Cardiff University, headed up by Professor Cathy Holt, Director of the University’s Musculoskeletal Biomechanics research facility are hoping to create a smart patch, which could cost as little as 10p, used specifically to detect early onset of the disease. Different approaches for the use of a patch and different types of sensors will be explored and evaluated, and then hopefully developed and validated. The patch will be tested on healthy patients and then patients who have osteoarthritis, and this will be carried out alongside biomechanics analysis.

It is hoped that these patches will be available and widely used within the next 10 years.

Sources used in writing this article are available on request

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Next review: 26 January 2021