September 23, 2020 – An artificial intelligence algorithm can detect subtle signs of osteoarthritis in MRI scans, years before symptoms of the condition even begin. Researchers at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering noted that right now, the primary treatment for osteoarthritis is joint replacement. The condition is so prevalent that knee replacement is the most common surgery in the US for people over the age of 45. "The gold standard for diagnosing arthritis is x-ray. As the cartilage deteriorates, the space between the bones decreases," said study co-author Kenneth Urish, MD, PhD, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at Pitt and associate medical director of the bone and joint center at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. "The problem is, when you see arthritis on x-rays, the damage has already been done. It's much easier to prevent cartilage from falling apart than trying to get it to grow again."