Nebraska Arthritis Outcomes Research Center Fund
In the last 15 years, there have been significant advances both in our understanding of arthritis pathobiology and treatment. It is unclear, however, whether these important scientific advances will actually translate into improved outcomes for arthritis patients. For instance, there have been substantial advances in joint replacement technologies but it's unclear whether these have led to improved long-term outcomes in patients (i.e. lower complication rates, longer survival).
As many leaders in the arthritis field have underscored, there is a substantial gap between basic science explorations, clinical studies, and the investigation of disease-related epidemiology and outcomes. In this regard, there is a general consensus felt that epidemiology and outcomes research constitute areas of critical need in the area of musculoskeletal diseases.
Scientists from UNMC are well positioned to investigate arthritis and disease epidemiology in arthritis. Together, the Department of Orthopedics and the Division of Rheumatology account for thousands of outpatient visits annually at UNMC, providing referral services to a five state area in the Midwest. The main goals of the Nebraska Arthritis Outcomes Research Center are to maintain the necessary infrastructure that allows UNMC researchers from different disciplines to collaborate in innovative, meaningful research of national and statewide significance. A long-term goal is to develop and implement a population-based study of arthritis outcomes with a focus on the state of Nebraska. Prospective population-based studies of this kind have played a major role in our current understanding of chronic diseases and their public health impact. Although data from such studies are often used to assess arthritis outcomes, there have been no prospective studies to date specifically designed with arthritis as its primary outcome measure. As a result, there are substantial limitations to the arthritis research that has come from these studies. It is our objective to administer a prospective cohort study, based in the state of Nebraska. In contrast to prior prospective investigations, this study would have arthritis (namely OA and RA) as its primary outcome measure. Although prospective data collection of this magnitude is both expensive and time intensive, longitudinal data generated in this effort would greatly further our understanding of arthritis risk and would serve as a unique resource to arthritis researchers both in Nebraska and elsewhere.
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