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The Prof. passes through 

March 31, 2020 April 2020 No Comments

Otago University researcher professor Haxby Abbott visited Martinborough during his length of New Zealand cycle ride to promote his call for a much needed change in the way osteoarthritis is treated in New Zealand. 

The message highlights his research, funded by the New Zealand Health Research Council, which  showed that while the rate of osteoarthritis is rising rapidly the health system is not delivering the recommended treatments efficiently. He said that rolling out nationally an evidence based exercise would cost about $25 million annually but would result in significant health gains and savings to the health system of $450 million annually.

Professor Abbott and his associate Doctor Ross Wilson, are researchers at the university’s Department of Surgical Sciences. Professor Abbott explained that osteoarthritis is a leading cause of health problems in New Zealand and the number continue to grow. This due to an aging population, rising obesity, increasing injury rates and earlier onset of disease. 

In 2013 280,000 people had knee joint osteoarthritis, on current projections this would double by 2038. Research indicates the knee joint replacements  will increase by 77% in that time unless preventive action is taken.  

“Exercise therapy, physical activity, weight loss (where appropriate) patient education and self management is widely accepted internationally as the best treatment for osteoarthritis.” He said “however the system is failing to deliver these recommended treatments and many treatments not recommended, yet funded, such as  anti inflammatory medications, opioids, and repeated corticosteroids injections, are being delivered”. 

The Prof. hopes his 3,00km cycle from Cape Reinga  to the Bluff will help to promote the fact that the system needs to change – and that continuing physical activity is a great way to stave off the onset of joint problems. 

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