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Plans to kick-start a new study to tackle osteoarthritis in Ireland are underway, and a Cork-based clinical trials company, Atlantia, is calling on osteoarthritis sufferers to take part.

Barry Skillington, Director at Atlantia Food Clinical Trials, commented on the importance of this research: “One in five of us in Ireland will suffer with some form of arthritis over the course of our lives and, for the majority, it will take the form of osteoarthritis.

“The disease can range from mild to chronic but its prevalence is increasing significantly. It has been forecasted that the frequency of osteoarthritis cases is expected to double by 2020”.

A staggering 30 per cent of all GP visits in Ireland are related to arthritic conditions, which means that many could benefit from a long-term, effective treatment that is yet to be discovered.

The research will consist of two separate osteo-related studies; investigating the effect of natural fish extracts on alleviating the symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee and investigating the effect of a raspberry extract on reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee.

Atlantia require approximately 200 participants, aged between 30 and 75, in Cork and the surrounding area who will travel to their HQ on several occasions in August & September.

Mr Skillington concluded: “While it is often considered an “old person’s” ailment it can actually affect a person of any age with research reporting that 1,000 Irish children are living with juvenile arthritis and a further 165,000 arthritis patients under 55.

“It not only affects the individuals themselves but it also has wider socio-economic implications costing the health service millions, with a further €1.6bn lost to the State every year in lost working hours”, he added.

Atlantia claim that Ireland spends more per capita (40.9%) on sickness and healthcare benefits than 24 other countries featured in a Europe-wide study.