In a recent series of experiments, scientists found that a specific antioxidant helps prevent the damage that osteoarthritis causes to cartilage. This may also have applications for bone and brain disorders.

Osteoarthritis is the most common arthritis type, causing pain and stiffness in the joints as cartilage steadily breaks down.

It is often referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis, as opposed to rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused by an immune response.

Most commonly affecting a person’s hands, knees, hips, feet, and spine, osteoarthritis symptoms tend to get worse over time.

Symptoms of joint swelling and tenderness can come and go over time — or, in some people, they can be constant. The degree of severity varies a great deal between individuals.

As the most common joint disorder in the United States, osteoarthritis affects over 30 million adults.

Several interventions can help manage osteoarthritis, including physical therapy, medications, and surgery. To date, however, nothing halts the progression of this debilitating condition.

It is still not exactly clear why cartilage continues to break down, and what mechanisms underpin the changes.

Risk factors for osteoarthritis include advancing age and obesity, so as the global population becomes older and heavier, the condition is likely to become increasingly prevalent.

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