Preventing Fractures and Degenerative Joint Disease Through Research

For the last 25 years, Thomas Link, MD, PhD has focused his research on degenerative diseases of the musculoskeletal system, in particular on osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. His goal is to develop imaging tools which allow radiologists to better assess the risk of an individual patient to develop debilitating and painful degenerative joint disease. This risk assessment can then identify a window of time during which therapy and lifestyle modifications can prevent the disease from either occurring or progressing. For Dr. Link, this research has a personal feel. Three generations of women in his family have suffered severe limitations in their quality of life due to severe degenerative changes of the knees, bilateral hip osteoarthritis and bilateral knee osteoarthritis.

Dr. Link is currently a professor, chief of Musculoskeletal Imaging and the clinical director of the Musculoskeletal and Quantitative Imaging Research (MQIR) Group at the UC San Francisco Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging. His team has developed a risk score based on advanced imaging technology that assesses the risk to a patient to develop severe degenerative joint disease over eight years.

In the accompanying video, Dr. Link talks more about his team’s research, its significance and how they will continue to make strides in preventing fractures, degenerative joint disease and related disabilities.

Visit the Musculoskeletal RIG web page to learn more about the Musculoskeletal Research Interest Group (RIG) and how these scientists are exploring the structures that support the human body, their role in health, and how to prevent and heal musculoskeletal damage.

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