To gain insight into NIAMS research under way on musculoskeletal diseases, 17 patients, their families and staff from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recently visited the NIH campus as part of AAOS’s 2012 Research Capitol Hill Days. During Capitol Hill Days, patients, physicians and researchers meet with members of Congress to request continued support for musculoskeletal research.
Seventeen patients, their families and staff from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recently visited the NIH campus.
“At NIAMS, many of the diseases we research have three things in common: they are chronic, costly and common,” said Dr. Stephen Katz, NIAMS director. “Many of you are examples of overcoming them by using resources developed by NIH that focus on making life better for people with these diseases.”
In addition to Katz, the group met with NIAMS scientists and leaders, including Dr. Joan McGowan, director of the Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases. She shared exciting orthopaedic research advances in the prediction, prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis (OA); the early diagnosis and management of adolescent scoliosis; better treatments for traumatic limb injury; and tissue engineering and regenerative medicine in bones
“The field of OA has exploded with opportunities,” said McGowan. “We study people with OA as they age to monitor the progression of their disease so that we can ultimately learn how we might prevent it.”
At the Clinical Center, the visitors learned about the department of rehabilitation medicine’s cutting-edge research to help patients overcome problems with mobility and movement. They heard from its chief, Dr. Leighton Chan, Dr. Frances Gavelli, a principal investigator and research engineer, and Dr. Jay Shah, a senior staff physiatrist.
“It’s a thrill to do the kind of clinical research we do,” said Chan. “The Clinical Center is like no other hospital in the world. By putting the biological labs right next to the clinical wards, we can accelerate the pace to create treatments and find cures.”
The group also visited the clinical movement analysis lab led by Dr. Diane Damiano, chief of the functional and applied biomechanics section, and Christopher Stanley, a motion lab engineer. They observed and participated in demonstrations of high-tech devices such as specialized video cameras and floor plates that measure data from patients’ movements. These help researchers and clinicians diagnose and analyze patients’ conditions and help them with recovery.
“It’s easy for me to support the mission of NIH and AAOS because they improve my quality of life,” said one visitor.
“I think it’s amazing to be able to come here to meet researchers and the heads of departments,” said another visitor. “It was great to hear all sides, which I don’t usually see as a patient advocate.”