WEEKLY UPDATE: January 10, 2020
SUMMARY: Identification of 2 genetic variants associated with knee pain.
OVERVIEW: Your knee is the largest joint in the body, and it is critical for supporting your body weight as you walk, jog, stand upright, and bend down. Years of wear and tear can take a toll on your knees, causing knee pain. In fact, ~ 50% of individuals over the age of 50 experience knee pain. To better understand the genetic basis of knee pain, researchers conducted a genome-wide association study that examined the genomes of over 170,000 individuals of European ancestry. The study identified 2 genetic variants that are associated with knee pain. Of these genetic variants, one is located near a gene that has previously been implicated in osteoarthritis, which is the wearing down of the flexible, protective tissue known as cartilage at the ends of bones. The other variant is located near a gene that is important for converting cartilage to bone.
DID YOU KNOW? The human skeleton is made up of over 200 bones! The fabella is a tiny bone located behind the knee that mostly disappeared during the evolution of humans, but is still found in some individuals. It is more commonly found in individuals who suffer from knee pain, but it is unclear if its presence causes knee pain.[SOURCE]