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‘Decoding Osteoarthritis…New Approaches to Prevention and Treatment Using Your Brain and Body’ Subject of UA Arthritis Center Lecture, May 4

Apr 29, 2016

“Decoding Osteoarthritis…New Approaches to Prevention and Treatment Using Your Brain and Body,” will be presented Wednesday, May 4, 6-7:15 p.m., at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, DuVal Auditorium, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson. The 75-minute presentation will include time for questions and answers, and light refreshments will be provided.

(Please note: the originally scheduled lecture, “Today, Tomorrow and the Future of Osteoarthritis Treatment” by C. Kent Kwoh, MD, director of the University of Arizona Arthritis Center, is postponed until the fall 2016 Living Healthy With Arthritis lecture series.)

Charles R. Ratzlaff, PhD, PT, FCAMT, will discuss non-surgical approaches to the prevention and management of knee and hip osteoarthritis with an emphasis on neuromuscular re-training. An epidemiologist and physical therapist specializing in pre-clinical diagnosis and rehabilitation of hip and knee osteoarthritis, Dr. Ratzlaff is a research assistant professor of medicine with the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and lead investigator of the Prospective Observational Studies in the Osteoarthritis Initiative.

Dr. Ratzlaff will highlight the importance of core training and hip-muscle balance for both hip and knee joint health, the re-programming of the brain through movement re-training and its critical impact on long-lasting joint health. He also will discuss how clinical examination of movement and neuromuscular patterns can help predict and prevent development of joint pain and damage, and will review pivotal clinical trials where neuromuscular re-training interventions prevented low back pain, anterior cruciate ligament and other knee injuries, as well as the progression of knee osteoarthritis.

Utilizing knee injury and hip impingement as models for rapid osteoarthritis development, Dr. Ratzlaff will further illustrate the potential for prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis through non-surgical methods. He will illustrate how research discoveries from neuromuscular training in elite athletes is directly applicable to aging knees and hips in the general population. The potential importance of combined medical approaches and physical therapy treatments in preventing and treating osteoarthritis also will be discussed.

Seating is limited and prior registration is requested. For more information or to register, please visit the UA Arthritis Center website,, or call 520-626-5040 or email

If you have questions concerning access, wish to request a Sign Language interpreter or disability-related accommodations, please contact Tracy Shake, 520-626-5040, email:

Parking is available in the Banner – University Medical Center Tucson visitor/patient parking garage just south of the hospital’s main entrance; please bring your parking ticket to the lecture to be validated.

The lecture is part of the “Living Healthy with Arthritis” series of free monthly talks presented by the UA Arthritis Center at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson and supported through the Susan and Saul Tobin Endowment for Research and Education in Rheumatology. The fall 2016 series, held in DuVal Auditorium, will begin in September.

About Dr. Ratzlaff

A clinician-scientist who recently completed a three-year research fellowship in radiology and rheumatology at Harvard University, Dr. Ratzlaff specializes in the evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of complex hip and knee disorders, most of which are precursors to osteoarthritis or are part of the diverse osteoarthritis spectrum. His previous research has investigated the prevention of osteoarthritis and the evaluation of non-surgical, surgical and pharmacological interventions for pre-clinical and clinical hip and knee osteoarthritis. His studies also have investigated modifiable risk factors (physical activity, alignment, joint injury and hip impingement) and the development of new imaging biomarkers utilizing high-definition MRI. His research was the first to link lifetime hip forces with hip osteoarthritis and confirm previous injury as a major risk factor.

Dr. Ratzlaff has worked with diverse populations, ranging from world-class Olympic and professional athletes to the general population. He has been part of Harvard research teams that have developed and validated the new imaging biomarkers of damage at the hip and knee – this has included the MRI Osteoarthritis Software Score (MOSS), a tool that rapidly and inexpensively evaluates cartilage and meniscus damage, inflammation and other musculoskeletal conditions. This new tool makes it feasible, for the first time, to conduct adequately-powered studies with large MRI databases, and expectations are that it could potentially benefit physicians through development of a single diagnostic score for osteoarthritis, similar to the single bone density score for osteoporosis, leading to earlier and more effective treatment.

Dr. Ratzlaff also currently is leading studies in the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), the landmark National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded cohort of 4,800 subjects now in its eighth year, utilizing high resolution MRI, lab, clinical and outcomes data. This research tracks the natural history of knee cap joint, knee joint, injury-induced, inflammatory-type and other forms of osteoarthritis, and tests MRI biomarkers obtained in baseline imaging. He also leads studies on hip impingement, a newly-identified cause of most hip osteoarthritis, including its accurate diagnosis along with the mechanisms of hip pain. His recent discoveries include new software-driven imaging measures designed to better predict future hip osteoarthritis.

About the University of Arizona Arthritis Center

The University of Arizona Arthritis Center, a Center of Excellence at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, is a research leader with a focus on identifying the causes of arthritis and developing improved diagnosis, measurement and treatment of the disease. For more information, please visit

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UA Health Sciences includes the UA Colleges of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UA Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UA Health Sciences employs almost 5,000 people, has nearly 1,000 faculty members and garners more than $126 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information:

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