Tooling Up For Early Osteoarthritis:
Measuring What Matters

Osteoarthritis (OA) is not a normal part of ageing – that’s the message lead investigators Dr. John Esdaile, a rheumatologist, and Dr. Monique Gignac, a public health scientist, together with their team of leading Canadian arthritis researchers, want to get out to the public about their new arthritis research program, “Tooling Up For Early Osteoarthritis: Measuring What Matters”.

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Arthritis Network, the main goal of the Tooling Up For Early Osteoarthritis research team is to learn how health care professionals can do a better job of identifying OA at the earliest possible stages. If OA can be detected early, the health care system will be better able to respond to the needs of people living with the disease, helping them:

  • maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • live with less pain
  • suffer less joint damage
  • stay employed, and
  • improve their overall quality of life with their families and in their communities, throughout their entire lifetime.

One in ten Canadians has OA. Most do not seek medical care until symptoms, pain and activity limitations are already well established, resulting in damage that could have been prevented with early intervention. Current treatment strategies focus on established disease only.

The team of researchers or “investigators” involved with the Tooling Up for Early Osteoarthritis program come from leading arthritis research institutes and organizations from across Canada. The team includes experts in diagnostic blood tests for osteoarthritis, state-of-the-art X-ray scanners, treatment of osteoarthritis and measurement of important aspects of the disease such as limitations on activities, costs and psychological consequences.

A unique and important part of the Tooling Up For Early Osteoarthritis research team is a group of people living with Osteoarthritis. They will work closely with the researchers to help ensure that the goals of the various projects being undertaken are relevant to people living with the disease. They will help to identify priority research areas and help to get the research results out to the arthritis community, public and health policy-makers as quickly as possible. This is the first time a group of people living with arthritis has participated in the design, execution, and dissemination of Health Canada-funded arthritis research in Canada.


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