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Weather does affect arthritis pains

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SAN ANTONIO, Oct 18, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The aches and pains of arthritis really do act up when the weather changes, researchers reported at the American College of Rheumatology annual conference.

A team from Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston merged data from an Online Glucosamine Trial, a large-scale study of an over-the-counter arthritis treatment, with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data to compare changes in barometric pressure and air temperature on patients with knee arthritis.

The data showed long-held anecdotal stories are true -- changes in barometric pressure have a very strong association with increases in knee pain. Cooler temperatures were consistently, although weakly, linked to increased pain. No significant associations were found with dew point or precipitation.

In a separate study, Boston University Medical Center researchers found even if X-rays are normal, knee pain can be due to osteoarthritis.

The study said between 25 percent and 30 percent of adults suffer frequent knee pain but only half can be confirmed as having osteoarthritis in an X-ray. When researchers also used magnetic resonance imaging, however, they were able to show other features consistent with osteoarthritis that could produce the knee pain.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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