To herald in September’s Arthritis Awareness campaign The Arthritis Society (TAS) introduced the Voices of Arthritis video series where five well-known Canadians share their personal journeys living with arthritis.
Lloyd Robertson, age 80, talks about how his journey with arthritis began, ‘about 35 years ago with the fingers, then to the back, then to the knees’. He discusses his commitment to ‘manage it’ and ‘continue on with life as normally as possible’ despite how it gets ‘tougher with time’. He explains that Arthritis research is critical in finding a cure and finding new ways to deal with the symptoms.
This month, the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA) revealed an Arthritis Patient Charter stating the ‘rights and responsibilities that arthritis patients should expect in their care’. According to CAPA, the charter was created because ‘the landscape of arthritis and healthcare continue to change and evolve, and to reflect those changes we wish to provide patients and the community with a tool that states the rights and responsibilities of arthritis patients today’.
Many new technologies have the potential to improve the lives of those living with the painful symptoms of arthritis. Researchers at Loughborough University in the UK have ‘developed a computer software concept that will enable clinicians with no experience in Computer Aided Design (CAD) to design and make custom-made 3D printed wrist splints for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers’. The splints are made more comfortable by scanning the patient’s arm for a personalized fit and have the potential to be less expensive than traditional splints.
3D printers may have the potential to radically change the lives of those suffering from the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis. Researchers at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are studying 3D cartilage printing technology by printing ‘the cartilage stem cells directly into a patient, where needed, using a catheter.’ Lead researcher Dr. Tuan expresses his hope that ‘the methods we’re developing will really make a difference, both in the study of the disease and, ultimately, in treatments for people with cartilage degeneration or joint injuries’.
It is heartening to see so many new and innovative technologies to support individuals with arthritis.