(2) Arthritis Research Studies

This section of the site is dedicated to brief synopses of our ongoing research projects

Our Mission

To promote academic excellence by pursuing innovative research ideas, conducting high quality research studies, fostering multidisciplinary collaborations and facilitating the education and success of students and young investigators.





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Total knee arthroplasty cohort study

 Andy Kin On Wong

A cohort of participants with severe knee osteoarthritis who have been recommended total knee arthroplasty was studied to examine the properties of bone and cartilage in such advanced stages of disease. The participants were scanned on 1T pMRI prior to surgery to obtain cartilage morphometry measurements, and posteroanterior knee radiographs were acquired to measure knee alignment, joint space width and bone texture. Using bone cores and tibial plateaus removed from surgery, we have also analyzed bone volumetric density (animal CT), bone architecture (microCT) and histomorphometry. The study has involved a number of our colleagues and experts in bone and joint research including Just de Beer, Jeff Duryea, Mark Hurtig and Louis-Georges Ste-Marie.

The results of the study apply to a severe knee osteoarthritis population and have allowed validation of cartilage morphometry measurements from MRI using ex vivo specimens. A high degree of reproducibility for both bone texture and knee alignment measurements was possible using software designed by Teneos Software Inc. We suggest that a defined set of anatomical landmarks be used when such analyses are performed in order to maintain a minimal precision error. Subchondral bone texture were potential outcomes for examining knee OA as demonstrated through its relationship with Kellgren-Lawrence scores, joint space width and quality of life scores. Pain was associated with centrally obtained bone cores that had larger trabecular separation as measured from microCT.

In further analyses of bone specimens obtained from this cohort, volumetric bone mineral density will be examined in regions of the subchondral tibia just beneath areas of greatest cartilage loss. This knowledge will guide further endaevours to look at subchondral bone changes and how it may be affecting cartilage integrity. In an effort to examine subchondral bone at the tissue level, histomorphometric analyses will also be performed to determine the osteoid index, measure the perimeters of bone matrices and identify the size and number of microcracks. This information will be correlated back to clinical measures of pain, physical function, joint space width and cartilage volume.

Volume Measurement of Bone Erosions in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Patrick Emond

The volume of bone erosions in the metacarpophalangeal joints is a radiological feature which can be used to track the progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). This research introduces a new hybrid segmentation algorithm for semi-automated volume measurement of bone erosions in magnetic resonance (MR) images.

A total of 41 patients were included in the study, 8 of which were used for training and 33 to determine the accuracy, precision and speed of the technique. The reproducibility of semi-automated and manual segmentation was determined using Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICCs). Followup scans of 15 patients were acquired 12 months after baseline.

Both techniques were equally precise with all ICC values greater than 0.9. The algorithm was highly accurate. The least squares fit between the semi-automated segmentations to those manually traced by a trained muskuloskeletal radiologist resulted in a slope of 1.045 and an R² value of 0.922. The semi-automated technique was significantly faster than manual segmentation which took two to four times longer to complete (p < 0.0005). Automated volumes for baseline and followup images will be correlated to radiologist scoring of the MR images using the Rheumatoid Arthritis MR Image Scoring (RAMRIS) system.

The algorithm is able to measure the volume of erosions within the hands of patients with RA with high precision and accuracy, enabling it to be used in the quantitative assessment of radiological features of RA in a clinical setting.


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