Blogpost: Trip to Denver - OARSI congress
Updated: Mar 31
The Osteoarthritis Research International Society held its annual congress in Denver from March 17th to 20th. The congress takes place every other year in the United States and Europe, and attracts nearly 1000 participants in a normal year.
OARSI is a poster congress in the sense that few people get to give oral presentations, while more than 400 posters are presented, with a lot of attention given to poster sessions. I left with a couple of other Norwegian participants from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and Oslo University Hospital, and presented a poster on the effect of strength training and cycling compared to regular clinical practice on quality of life in patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis. It was presented on a poster tour early on Sunday morning and at the two 1.5-hour poster sessions on Saturday and Sunday. In addition, my co-authors from LaTrobe University in Australia and I presented a poster on a systematic review article in which we investigated whether weak muscle strength increases the risk of osteoarthritis progression (with a picture of Brooke Patterson, the first author of the article).
International congresses are good venues for physical meetings, maintaining contact with known collaborators, as well as a good venue for finding new collaborators. In Denver, I met both old and new contacts, including the research group of Eva Ageberg from Lund University. I also met my former mentors and contacts whom I have visited at Stanford University and Boston University, as well as colleagues from Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Australia.
Professor May Arna Risberg and I, along with the research group of Eva Ageberg, a physiotherapist and professor at Lund University, fourth from the left on the left-hand side, and Joanna Kvist, a professor and physiotherapist at Linköping University, fourth from the right on the right-hand side.
OARSI has previously emphasized basic research more than clinical research. In recent years, there has been a shift towards more rehabilitation and clinical research relevant to physiotherapists. This year, there was less research presented on exercise and physical activity as interventions, and more on the prevention of osteoarthritis. Preventing osteoarthritis is challenging to research because it is a slowly progressive disease. Therefore, it may be wise to research individuals who have important risk factors for developing osteoarthritis. These include people who have had knee injuries or people who are overweight or obese.
Jackie Whittaker from Canada gave a lecture on post-traumatic knee osteoarthritis, emphasizing that osteoarthritis has two sides: the symptoms that patients experience (illness) and pathological changes in and around the joint (disease). These two do not always correlate well. Some may have a lot of symptoms but few pathological changes in the joint, while others may have moderate pathological changes in the joint and few symptoms. It is therefore important to know what you want to prevent: illness or disease.
Several new projects with the prevention of osteoarthritis as the main goal were presented, and we are eagerly awaiting results from, among others, the SUPERknee trial in Australia and the FAST-OA trial in the United States.
Jackie Whittaker presented barriers to prevention.
Denver offered winter temperatures, sun, and snow. The Rocky Mountains in the background provide a great view from the city. The park was tested with jogging, and the grass became a little greener during the congress days.