Diagnostics of Osteoarthritis (DIOS)

Research group information

Contact information

Research group leader

Research group description

Prof. Saarakkala’s DIOS (Diagnostics of Osteoarthritis) group is focusing on developing novel and innovative clinical diagnostic and follow-up methods for early OA. Specifically, non-invasive ultrasound imaging as well as thermal, acoustic and kinematic measurements are currently under investigation and development in the group. Furthermore, nowadays digital image analysis methods enable extraction of new information from many traditional clinical imaging modalities of OA, e.g., conventional radiography, computed tomography (CT), ultrasound imaging, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The group is developing quantitative in vivo image analysis methods for evaluating the structure and composition of articular cartilage and subchondral bone from conventional clinical imaging modalities. The ambitious ultimate goal would be to develop automated image analysis and classification algorithms that would enhance the sensitivity of the current clinical imaging methods and offer a prediction for the clinical progression of OA.

Despite intensive research worldwide, pathogenesis of OA at tissue level is poorly understood. The group is investigating the early pathological changes in articular cartilage, subchondral bone and meniscus in vitro and in situ using animal and human tissue samples. Conventional histological and immunohistochemical staining methods, as well as modern Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) and Raman imaging techniques, are applied in the group to characterize structural and compositional osteoarthritic changes from tissue sections. Furthermore, the group is actively developing biomedical imaging techniques suitable for quantitative 3D imaging of tissue samples. Specifically, micro/nano-CT imaging techniques are investigated in the group. These techniques enable 3D imaging of tissue structure and composition in different stages of OA in micro/nanometer scale, which significantly improves our understanding of pathogenesis of OA.

Our team

Where are we headed

The main goal in the future is to renew the diagnostic criteria of osteoarthritis both at the clinical level and at the histopathological level. In particular, the group aims to develop individual diagnostics by creating a statistical prediction models based on large-scale patient and tissue sample populations.

Our main collaborators

How to find us

Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology
Faculty of Medicine
University of Oulu

If you are interested in working or collaborating with this research group, please contact Meri Ojakangas (meri.ojakangsa[at]oulu.fi)