European project on osteoarthritis: design of a six-cohort study on the personal and societal burden of osteoarthritis in an older European population.
van der Pas S., Castell MV., Cooper C., Denkinger M., Dennison EM., Edwards MH., Herbolsheimer F., Limongi F., Lips P., Maggi S., Nasell H., Nikolaus T., Otero A., Pedersen NL., Peter R., Sanchez-Martinez M., Schaap LA., Zambon S., van Schoor NM., Deeg DJH.
BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, is a major contributor to functional impairment and loss of independence in older persons. The European Project on OSteoArthritis (EPOSA) is a collaborative study involving six European cohort studies on ageing. This project focuses on the personal and societal burden and its determinants of osteoarthritis. This paper describes the design of the project, and presents some descriptive analyses on selected variables across countries. METHODS/DESIGN: EPOSA is an observational study including pre-harmonized data from European cohort studies (Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) on older community-dwelling persons aged 65 to 85 years. In total, 2942 persons were included in the baseline study with a mean age of 74.2 years (SD 5.1), just over half were women (51,9%). The baseline assessment was conducted by a face-to-face interview followed by a clinical examination. Measures included physical, cognitive, psychological and social functioning, lifestyle behaviour, physical environment, wellbeing and care utilisation. The clinical examination included anthropometry, muscle strength, physical performance and OA exam. A follow-up assessment was performed 12-18 months after baseline. DISCUSSION: The EPOSA study is the first population-based study including a clinical examination of OA, using pre-harmonized data across European countries. The EPOSA study provides a unique opportunity to study the determinants and consequences of OA in general populations of older persons, including both care-seeking and non care-seeking persons.