Public Release: 

Prevalence of knee osteoarthritis

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Using more than 2,000 cadaver skeletons from the early industrial era, which marks the period from the 1800s to early 1900s, and the modern postindustrial era, which marks the period from the late 1900s to early 2000s, as well as 176 skeletons of prehistoric individuals, researchers found knee osteoarthritis (OA) in 16% of the postindustrial individuals 50 years and older, but only in 6% and 8% of the early industrial and prehistoric samples, respectively; the findings, which indicate an approximate doubling of knee OA prevalence since the mid-20th century, could not be explained by recent increases in longevity or body weight, and point to other risk factors in the postindustrial era.


Article #17-03856: "Knee osteoarthritis has doubled in prevalence since the mid-20th century," by Ian Wallace et al.

MEDIA CONTACT: Daniel E. Lieberman, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; tel: 617-495-5479; e-mail: <>; Ian Wallace, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; tel: 631-456-8265; email: <>

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