Monday, 31 January 2022
Social deprivation, which can lead to impairments in memory and concentration, can make day-to-day activities, such as going shopping or doing housework, challenging for people with painful osteoarthritis.
Low educational attainment and increased anxiety may also make people with osteoarthritis more vulnerable to difficulties with performing daily activities, according to a new study published in Scientific Reports.
The findings of the research, led by experts from the Schools of Medicine and of Psychology at the University of Nottingham, suggest that addressing these socioeconomic and psychological factors early in the disease (at the time of diagnosis), could help to reduce functional disability and could improve quality of life in people with osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the main and fastest growing cause of chronic pain worldwide. Individuals with painful osteoarthritis often seek medical help when their pain can no longer be controlled and starts to interfere with their ability to perform daily activities, such as going shopping or doing housework. Difficulty in performing daily activities contributes to poor quality of life in people with osteoarthritis.
The team of experts, led by Afroditi Kouraki from the School of Medicine, used data from nearly 1,000 people with newly diagnosed osteoarthritis, who were followed for seven years through the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) that covers 28 European countries.
A follow-up was carried out with participants every two years, where they answered questions about how they felt, their pain, their ability to perform everyday tasks, their education and their participation in everyday life, social activities and the quality of their neighbourhood. They also took part in tests to measure their cognitive ability, including tests of memory and concentration.
The team tested how socioeconomic factors (social deprivation and education) early in the disease, before the diagnosis of painful osteoarthritis, contributed to difficulties in performing daily activities after diagnosis and the role of psychological factors (anxiety and cognitive ability) that may influence this relationship.
In our study we found that social deprivation and low educational status are associated with increased functional disability in patients with painful osteoarthritis, and this may be mediated by poor cognitive ability and increased anxiety, respectively.
“This suggests that improving cognitive ability and reducing anxiety early in the disease course might reduce the impact of socioeconomic factors on subsequent functional disability in people with painful osteoarthritis. “
The full study can be found here.
More information is available from Afroditi Kouraki in the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham at email@example.com
Notes to editors:
About the University of Nottingham
Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.
Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.
The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.
We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.