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Amanda Nelson, MD, MSCR, RhMSUS, a rheumatologist at the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center, has received the “Innovative Research Award” from the Rheumatology Research Foundation. This grant will enable her to study the association between features of osteoarthritis (OA) that are observable with ultrasound compared to radiographic (X-ray) observations and symptoms, as well as the potential influence of factors such as age, sex, race, obesity and prior injury.

Amanda Nelson, MD, MSCR, RhMSUS

While X-rays are frequently used to assess OA for clinical and research purposes, the technology does not correlate well with symptoms, or changes over time.

Ultrasound provides numerous potential advantages for the assessment of OA, as it is cost-effective, widely available, reliable, and can identify OA changes earlier when intervention may be more effective. The results of the study could assist in planning future studies of knee OA, and will provide insights that may be useful for clinical practice.

Titled “Sonography of OA by Rheumatologists (SOAR),” the study will be integrated into the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project (JoCoOA), which is a large, population-based research program evaluating the determinants and societal implications of OA. The JoCoOA Project is managed by the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center, and has been continuously funded for over 25 years.

In other ultrasound-related news, Dr. Nelson has been appointed to the American College of Rheumatology’s Oversight Committee for Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Certification (RhMSUS). In this role she will be actively involved in all aspects of the RhMSUS certification program, with a particular focus on examination development.

As a nationally recognized leader in musculoskeletal ultrasound imaging, Dr. Nelson and a former Thurston Arthritis Research Center Rheumatology fellow, Dr. Jake Ritt, recently co-authored the chapter “Ultrasound of the Knee,” in the book “Musculoskeletal Ultrasound in Rheumatology Review.” Their chapter focuses on imaging technique, normal joint imaging, and knee pathology visible using ultrasound.

The book is available for physicians who would like to learn more about the use of musculoskeletal ultrasound for rheumatologic conditions.