OA in Moose?
From Vancouver Sun, July 9, 2010: ** Moose play part in arthritis discovery**
Development of osteoarthritis in mammals linked to periods of malnutrition in their youth, researchers say
Moose living on a remote Lake Superior island near the U.S.-Canada border have unlocked a mystery about how the bones of aging mammals -- including humans -- can come to suffer the ravages of arthritis. The findings have emerged as part of a remarkable 50-year study of the antlered beasts on Isle Royale, a setting that three generations of scientists have used as a unique natural laboratory to observe the predator-prey dynamics between moose and wolves.
The uninhabited island -- protected as a U.S. national park -- is part of Michigan. Over the centuries, animals from the mainland have occasionally crossed the lake during severe freeze-ups and populated the 72-kilometre-long island, Superior's largest. A team of U.S. researchers, in a study published in the latest issue of the journal Ecology Letters, has detailed an unexpected discovery that links osteoarthritis among older moose to periods of malnutrition they endured as juveniles.
It's a finding, the scientists say, that has implications for archeologists trying to understand conditions faced by prehistoric peoples, whose burial grounds can yield evidence of disease and adverse environmental conditions. And the moose bones of Isle Royale may also offer insights for current medical research on osteoarthritis, the team claims. "Our study suggests the need to consider more carefully whether osteoarthritis is like other late-onset pathologies -- including heart disease, diabetes and hypertension -- that appear to have risk factors established early in life," the paper states. Wildlife biologists began studying the Isle Royale moose in the late 1950s.