Recent Submissions

  • Chronic pain in people living with dementia: challenges to recognising and managing pain, and personalising intervention by phenotype

    Walsh, David A (Age and Ageing, 2023-01)
    Pain is common in people with dementia, and pain can exacerbate the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. Effective pain management is challenging, not least in people with dementia. Impairments of cognition, communication and abstract thought can make communicating pain unreliable or impossible. It is unclear which biopsychosocial interventions for pain management are effective in people with dementia, and which interventions for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia are effective in people with pain. The result is that drugs, physical therapies and psychological therapies might be either underused or overused. People with dementia and pain could be helped by assessment processes that characterise an individual's pain experience and dementia behaviours in a mechanistic manner, phenotyping. Chronic pain management has moved from a 'one size fits all' approach, towards personalised medicine, where interventions recommended for an individual depend upon the key mechanisms underlying their pain, and the relative values they place on benefits and adverse effects. Mechanistic phenotyping through careful personalised evaluation would define the mechanisms driving pain and dementia behaviours in an individual, enabling the formulation of a personalised intervention strategy. Central pain processing mechanisms are particularly likely to be important in people with pain and dementia, and interventions to accommodate and address these may be particularly helpful, not only to relieve pain but also the symptoms of dementia.
  • Influence of Social Support, Financial Status, and Lifestyle on the Disparity Between Inflammation and Disability in Rheumatoid Arthritis.

    Walsh, David A
    Objective: To investigate how social support, financial status, and lifestyle influence the development of excess disability in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods: Data were obtained from the Étude et Suivi des Polyarthrites Indifférenciées Récentes (ESPOIR) cohort study of people with RA. A previous analysis identified groups with similar inflammation trajectories but markedly different disability over 10 years; those in the higher disability trajectory groups were defined as having "excess disability." Self-reported data regarding contextual factors (social support, financial situation, lifestyle) were obtained from participants, and they completed patient-reported outcome measures (pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression) at baseline. The direct effect of the contextual factors on excess disability and the effect mediated by patient-reported outcome measures were assessed using structural equation models. Findings were validated in 2 independent data sets (Norfolk Arthritis Register [NOAR], Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Network [ERAN]). Results: Of 538 included ESPOIR participants (mean age ± SD 48.3 ± 12.2 years; 79.2% women), 200 participants (37.2%) were in the excess disability group. Less social support (β = 0.17 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.08, 0.26]), worse financial situation (β = 0.24 [95% CI 0.14, 0.34]), less exercise (β = 0.17 [95% CI 0.09-0.25]), and less education (β = 0.15 [95% CI 0.06, 0.23]) were associated with excess disability group membership; smoking, alcohol consumption, and body mass index were not. Fatigue and depression mediated a small proportion of these effects. Similar results were seen in NOAR and ERAN. Conclusion: Greater emphasis is needed on the economic and social contexts of individuals with RA at presentation; these factors might influence disability over the following decade.
  • Association of pain and risk of falls in community-dwelling adults: a prospective study in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).

    Walsh, David A
    Purpose: To investigate the longitudinal associations between pain and falls risks in adults. Methods: Prospective cohort study on data from 40,636 community-dwelling adults ≥ 50 years assessed in Wave 5 and 6 in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Socio-demographic and clinical information was collected at baseline (Wave 5). At 2-year follow-up (Wave 6), falls in the previous 6 months were recorded. The longitudinal associations between pain intensity, number of pain sites and pain in specific anatomic sites, respectively, and falls risk were analysed by binary logistic regression models; odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) were calculated. All analyses were adjusted for socio-demographic and clinical factors and stratified by sex. Results: Mean age was 65.8 years (standard deviation 9.3; range 50-103); 22,486 (55.3%) participants were women. At follow-up, 2805 (6.9%) participants reported fall(s) in the previous 6 months. After adjustment, participants with moderate and severe pain at baseline had an increased falls risk at follow-up of 1.35 (1.21-1.51) and 1.52 (1.31-1.75), respectively, compared to those without pain (both p < 0.001); mild pain was not associated with falls risk. Associations between pain intensity and falls risk were greater at younger age (p for interaction < 0.001). Among participants with pain, pain in ≥ 2 sites or all over (multisite pain) was associated with an increased falls risk of 1.29 (1.14-1.45) compared to pain in one site (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Moderate, severe and multisite pain were associated with an increased risk of subsequent falls in adults.

    Walsh, David A (Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 2022-05)
    Background Central mechanisms of knee pain occur in the central nervous system and may intensify and prolong pain. Central pain mechanisms might be facilitated by ongoing nociceptive input. A link between multimorbidity and central mechanisms of knee pain is proposed; ongoing sensory inputs due to comorbidities may trigger changes in pain processing by the CNS. This might be particularly expected with painful comorbidities. Objectives To investigate potential relationships of painful and non-painful multimorbidity with central mechanisms of knee pain. Methods Cross-sectional analysis of self-report data from participants of the Investigating Musculoskeletal Health and Wellbeing cohort, who reported knee as their most bothersome site of joint pain over the previous month, with pain rated ≥1/10, and who had completed FRAIL and CAP-Knee (1) questionnaires. Two indirect measures suggesting central mechanisms involvement in knee pain were used as dependent variables; pain intensity (0-10 numerical rating scale) and CAP-Knee score (0-16 scale). Comorbidities were assigned either “painful comorbidity” or “non-painful comorbidity” status based on IASP classification of chronic pain criteria (2). Multivariable linear regression models, adjusted for age and sex, were employed to explore associations of comorbidity counts with pain intensity and CAP-Knee score. Results 736 participants satisfied inclusion criteria. 55% were female, mean age 71 (range 40 to 95). Painful comorbidity count and non-painful comorbidity count each had positive associations with pain intensity (β=0.42, 95% CI=0.29 to 0.54, p<0.001; and β=0.31, 95%CI=0.16 to 0.45, p<0.001, respectively). Painful and non-painful comorbidity counts each also were associated with CAP-Knee score (β=0.80, 95% CI=0.59 to 1.01, p<0.001; and β=0.52, 95% CI=0.27 to 0.77, p<0.001, respectively). Painful and non-painful comorbidity counts each remained significantly associated both with pain intensity and with CAP-Knee scores when both types of comorbidity count were included in the same multivariable model. Conclusion Both painful and non-painful comorbidities were positively associated with central mechanisms of knee pain, providing further insight into the interconnectedness of pain processing systems and the rest of the body. The explanation behind these relationships may depend on more than just ongoing nociceptive input. Future work should address possible contributions from genetic, pathophysiological, psychological, and pharmacological factors associated with comorbid diagnosis.
  • Validation of methods for converting the original Disease Activity Score (DAS) to the DAS28

    Walsh, David A (Rheumatology Internatiaonal, 2018-12)
    The Disease Activity Score (DAS) is integral in tailoring the clinical management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and is an important measure in clinical research. Different versions have been developed over the years to improve reliability and ease of use. Combining the original DAS and the newer DAS28 data in both contemporary and historical studies is important for both primary and secondary data analyses. As such, a methodologically robust means of converting the old DAS to the new DAS28 measure would be invaluable. Using data from The Early RA Study (ERAS), a sub-sample of patients with both DAS and DAS28 data were used to develop new regression imputation formulas using the total DAS score (univariate), and using the separate components of the DAS score (multivariate). DAS were transformed to DAS28 using an existing formula quoted in the literature, and the newly developed formulas. Bland and Altman plots were used to compare the transformed DAS with the recorded DAS28 to ascertain levels of agreement. The current transformation formula tended to overestimate the true DAS28 score, particularly at the higher end of the scale. A formula which uses all separate components of the DAS was found to estimate the scores with a higher level of precision. A new formula is proposed that can be used by other early RA cohorts to convert the original DAS to DAS28.
  • Is incident rheumatoid arthritis interstitial lung disease associated with methotrexate treatment? Results from a multivariate analysis in the ERAS and ERAN inception cohorts

    Walsh, David A (BMJ Open, 2019-05)
    Objectives: To assess predictive factors for rheumatoid arthritis interstitial lung disease (RA-ILD) in two early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) inception cohorts with a focus on methotrexate (MTX) exposure. Design: Multicentre prospective early RA inception cohort studies; the early RA study (ERAS) and the early RA network (ERAN). Setting: Secondary care, ERAS nine centres, ERAN 23 centres in England, Wales and Ireland. Participants: Patients with new diagnosis of RA, n=2701. Standardised data including demographics, drug therapies and clinical outcomes including the presence of RA-ILD were collected at baseline, within 3-6 months, at 12 months and annually thereafter. Primary and secondary outcome measures: Primary outcome was the association of MTX exposure on RA-ILD diagnosis. Secondary outcomes were the association of demographic, comorbid and RA-specific factors on RA-ILD diagnosis and the association of MTX exposure on time to RA-ILD diagnosis. Results: Of 92 eligible ILD cases, 39 occurred in 1578 (2.5%) MTX exposed and 53 in 1114 (4.8%) non-MTX exposed cases. The primary analysis of RA-ILD cases only developing after any conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug treatment (n=67) showed MTX exposure not to be associated with incident RA-ILD (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.49 to 1.49, p=0.578) and a non-significant trend for delayed ILD diagnosis (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.28 to 1.06, p=0.072). In an extended analysis including RA-ILD cases present at RA diagnosis (n=92), MTX exposure was associated with a significantly reduced risk of incident RA-ILD (OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.3 to 0.79, p=0.004) and longer time to ILD diagnosis (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.23 to 0.75, p=0.004). Other independent baseline associations with incident RA-ILD were higher age of RA onset, ever smoking, male gender, rheumatoid nodules and longer time from first RA symptom to first outpatient visit. Conclusions: MTX treatment was not associated with an increased risk of RA-ILD diagnosis. On the contrary, evidence suggested that MTX may delay the onset of ILD.
  • Thresholds of ultrasound synovial abnormalities for knee osteoarthritis - a cross sectional study in the general population

    Walsh, David A (Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 2019-03)
    Objective: To establish "normal" ranges for synovial thickness and effusion detected by ultrasound (US) and to determine cut-offs associated with knee pain (KP) and radiographic knee osteoarthritis (RKOA) in the community. Methods: 147 women and 152 men ≥40 years old were randomly selected from the Nottingham KP and Related Health in the Community (KPIC) cohort (n = 9506). The "normal" range was established using the percentile method in 163 participants who had no KP and no RKOA. Optimal (maximum sensitivity and specificity) and high specificity (90%) cut-offs were established using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis in a comparison between people with both KP and RKOA and normal controls. Results: Effusion and synovial hypertrophy differed by gender but not by age or laterality, therefore gender-specific reference limits were estimated. However, the "normal" ranges between men and women were similar for effusion (0-10.3 mm vs 0-9.8 mm), but different for synovial hypertrophy (0-6.8 mm vs 0-5.4 mm). Power Doppler Signal (PDS) in the healthy controls was uncommon (1.2% in men and 0.0% in women). The optimal cut-off was 7.4 mm for men and 5.3 mm for women for effusion, and 3.7 and 1.6 for hypertrophy respectively. The high specificity cut-off was 8.9 for men and 7.8 for women for effusion, and 5.8 and 4.2 for hypertrophy respectively. Conclusions: US effusion and synovial hypertrophy but not PDS are common, but differ by gender, in community-derived people without painful knee OA. Currently used cut-offs for abnormality need reappraisal.
  • Peripheral brain-derived neurotrophic factor contributes to chronic osteoarthritis joint pain

    Walsh, David A (Pain, 2020-01)
    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and the high-affinity receptor tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) have important roles in neuronal survival and in spinal sensitization mechanisms associated with chronic pain. Recent clinical evidence also supports a peripheral role of BDNF in osteoarthritis (OA), with synovial expression of TrkB associated with higher OA pain. The aim of this study was to use clinical samples and animal models to explore the potential contribution of knee joint BDNF/TrkB signalling to chronic OA pain. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and TrkB mRNA and protein were present in knee synovia from OA patients (16 women, 14 men, median age 67 years [interquartile range: 61-73]). There was a significant positive correlation between mRNA expression of NTRK2 (TrkB) and the proinflammatory chemokine fractalkine in the OA synovia. Using the surgical medial meniscal transection (MNX) model and the chemical monosodium iodoacetate (MIA) model of OA pain in male rats, the effects of peripheral BDNF injection, vs sequestering endogenous BDNF with TrkB-Fc chimera, on established pain behaviour were determined. Intra-articular injection of BDNF augmented established OA pain behaviour in MIA rats, but had no effect in controls. Intra-articular injection of the TrkB-Fc chimera acutely reversed pain behaviour to a similar extent in both models of OA pain (weight-bearing asymmetry MIA: -11 ± 4%, MNX: -12 ± 4%), compared to vehicle treatment. Our data suggesting a contribution of peripheral knee joint BDNF/TrkB signalling in the maintenance of chronic OA joint pain support further investigation of the therapeutic potential of this target.
  • Remission vs low disease activity: function, quality of life and structural outcomes in the Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Study and Network

    Walsh, David A (Reumatology, 2020-06)
    Objectives: To examine associations between function, quality of life and structural outcomes in patients achieving remission vs low disease activity in early RA. Methods: Demographic, clinical and radiographic variables were collected at baseline and then annually from the Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Study (ERAS) and Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Network (ERAN) inception cohorts in routine care from 1986 to 2012. Disease activity was categorized: mean DAS28 score between years 1 and 5: remission [mean remission DAS (mRDAS) <2.6] or low [mean low DAS (mLDAS) 2.6-3.2]; sustained low/remission DAS28 (sLDAS/sRDAS) at years 1 and 2; and sustained Boolean remission (sBR) at years 1 and 2. Changes in HAQ and Short Form 36 Health Survey Questionnaire [SF-36; physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) component score]) and total Sharp van der Heijde (SvdH) scores for each disease activity category were modelled using multi-level models. Covariates included year of onset, age, gender and DMARD use at first visit. Results: Of 2701 patients, 562 (21%) were categorized mRDAS, 330 (12%) mLDAS, 279 (10%) sRDAS, 203 (7.5%) sLDAS and 93 (3%) sBR. Patients categorized as mRDAS had increasingly divergent improved HAQ, SF-36 PCS, MCS and total SvdH scores compared with mLDAS (P-values 0.001 to <0.0001, all time points). Patients categorized as sRDAS had better HAQ, SF-36 PCS and MCS scores (P-values 0.05 to <0.0001, all time points) and SvdH scores (P = 0.05, years 3-5) over sLDAS. sBR was associated with better HAQ, and SF-36 PCS and MCS scores over sLDAS (P-values 0.002 to <0.0001, all time points). Conclusion: These findings from routine care support ACR/EULAR guidelines that remission is a preferable goal over low disease activity in early RA.
  • Predictors of response to topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in osteoarthritis: an individual patient data meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

    Walsh, David A (Rheumatology, 2020-09)
    Objectives: To identify predictors of the specific (difference between treatment and placebo) and overall (change from baseline in treatment arm) treatment effects of topical NSAIDs in OA. Methods: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of topical NSAIDs in OA were identified through systematic literature searching and inquiry to pharmaceutical companies. The raw, de-identified data were analysed in one-stage individual patient data meta-analysis (IPD-MA). Negative values for treatment effects (0-100 scale) indicate pain reduction. Results: Of 63 eligible RCTs, 15 provided IPD (n = 1951 on topical NSAID), including 11 placebo-controlled RCTs (n = 1587 on topical NSAIDs, 1553 on placebo). Seven potential predictors of response were examined. Topical NSAIDs were superior to placebo [-6 (95% CI -9, -4)], with a small, but statistically significant greater effect in women than men [difference -4 (95% CI -8, -1)]. The overall treatment effect was 4-fold larger than the specific effect [-25 (95% CI -31, -19)] and increased with greater baseline pain severity (P < 0.001). No differences in efficacy were observed for age, BMI, features of inflammation, duration of complaints or radiographic OA severity. Conclusion: Topical NSAIDs are effective for OA pain relief. Greater overall pain relief in individuals with more baseline pain might be due to contextual and non-specific effects, including regression to the mean. Additional factors that have been linked either mechanistically or through empirical evidence to outcomes should be selected for inclusion across future RCTs in order to facilitate the identification of response predictors through IPD-MA.
  • Secular changes in the progression of clinical markers and patient reported outcomes in early rheumatoid arthritis

    Walsh, David A (Rheumatology, 2020-09)
    Objectives To examine secular trends in the progression of clinical and patient-reported outcomes in early RA. Methods A total of 2701 patients recruited to the Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Study or Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Network with year of diagnosis from 1986 to 2011. The 5-year progression rates for patients diagnosed at different points in time were modelled using mixed-effects regression; 1990, 2002 and 2010, were compared. Clinical markers of disease included the 28-joint count DAS and the ESR. Patient-reported markers included the HAQ, visual analogue scale of pain and global health, and the Short-Form 36. Results Statistically significant improvements in both 28-joint count DAS and ESR were seen over the 5 years in patients diagnosed with RA compared with those diagnosed earlier. By 5 years, 59% of patients with diagnosis in 2010 were estimated to reach low disease activity compared with 48% with diagnosis in 2002 and 32% with diagnosis in 1990. Whilst HAQ demonstrated statistically significant improvements, these improvements were small, with similar proportions of patients achieving HAQ scores of ≤1.0 by 5 years with a diagnosis in 1990 compared with 2010. Levels of the visual analogue scale and the Mental Component Scores of the Short-Form 36 indicated similar, statistically non-significant levels over the 5 years, irrespective of year diagnosed. Conclusion This study demonstrates improvements in inflammatory markers over time in early RA, in line with improved treatment strategies. These have not translated into similar improvements in patient-reported outcomes relating to either physical or mental health.
  • Brain perfusion patterns are altered in chronic knee pain: A spatial covariance analysis of arterial spin labelling MRI

    Walsh, David A (Pain, 202-06)
    Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a common problem globally. Current evidence suggests that maladapted central pain pathways are associated with pain chronicity, for example, in postoperative pain after knee replacement. Other factors such as low mood, anxiety, and tendency to catastrophize are also important contributors. We aimed to investigate brain imaging features that underpin pain chronicity based on multivariate pattern analysis of cerebral blood flow (CBF), as a marker of maladaptive brain changes. This was achieved by identifying CBF patterns that discriminate chronic pain from pain-free conditions and by exploring their explanatory power for factors thought to drive pain chronification. In 44 chronic knee pain and 29 pain-free participants, we acquired both CBF and T1-weighted data. Participants completed questionnaires related to affective processes and pressure and cuff algometry to assess pain sensitization. Two factor scores were extracted from these scores representing negative affect and pain sensitization. A spatial covariance principal component analysis of CBF identified 5 components that significantly discriminated chronic pain participants from controls, with the unified network achieving 0.83 discriminatory accuracy (area under the curve). In chronic knee pain, significant patterns of relative hypoperfusion were evident in anterior default-mode and salience network hubs, while hyperperfusion was seen in posterior default mode, thalamus, and sensory regions. One component correlated positively with the pain sensitization score (r = 0.43, P = 0.006), suggesting that this CBF pattern reflects neural activity changes encoding pain sensitization. Here, we report a distinct chronic knee pain-related representation of CBF, pointing toward a brain signature underpinning central aspects of pain sensitization.
  • Patient Preferences for Osteoarthritis Pain and Chronic Low Back Pain Treatments in the United States: A Discrete-Choice Experiment

    Walsh, David A (Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 2020-09)
    Objective: To quantify preferences for attributes of potential analgesic treatments for moderate-to-severe pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA) and/or chronic low back pain (CLBP) as relevant to injectable nerve growth factor (NGF)-inhibitors, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and opioids. Methods: We used a discrete-choice experiment (DCE) to elicit preferences for attributes of OA and CLBP pharmaceutical treatments, and a best-worst scaling (BWS) exercise to further characterize the relative importance of treatment-related side-effect risks. The survey was completed online by 602 US residents with self-reported chronic, moderate-to-severe OA pain and/or CLBP who had tried, had contraindications for, or were unwilling to take currently available pharmaceutical therapies. In the DCE, respondents repeatedly chose between two hypothetical treatments defined by six attributes (symptom control; treatment-related risks of (1) severe joint problems, (2) heart attack, and (3) physical dependence; mode/frequency of administration; and cost). In the BWS exercise, respondents evaluated ten side-effect risks. Random-parameters logit models were estimated; conditional relative attribute importance, maximum acceptable risks, and willingness to pay were calculated. Results: The most important DCE attributes were improving symptom control (scaled conditional relative importance, 10.00) and reducing risk of physical dependence (6.99). The three most important BWS attributes were, in rank order, risks of stroke, physical dependence, and heart attack. Respondents were willing to accept a > 4% treatment-related risk of severe joint problems for even modest symptom improvement. Conclusion: A pharmaceutical treatment with a risk of severe joint problems was viewed as an acceptable alternative to other treatments with comparable efficacy but risks associated with NSAIDs or opioids.
  • Refining surgical models of osteoarthritis in mice and rats alters pain phenotype but not joint pathology

    Walsh, David A (PLoS One, 2020-09)
    TL]) or modified (MMTL left intact, transection of the coronary ligaments) DMM surgery, or sham surgery. Adult male Sprague Dawley rats (n = 76, weight 175-199g) underwent either modified meniscal transection (MMNX) surgery (transection of the medial meniscus whilst the medial collateral ligament is left intact) or sham surgery. Pain behaviours (weight bearing asymmetry [in mice and rats] and paw withdrawal thresholds [in rats]) were measured pre-surgery and weekly up to 16 weeks post-surgery. Post-mortem knee joints were scored for cartilage damage, synovitis, and osteophyte size. There was a significant increase in weight bearing asymmetry from 13 weeks following traditional, but not modified, DMM surgery when compared to sham operated mice. Both traditional and modified DMM surgery led to similar joint pathology. There was significant pain behaviour from 6 weeks following MMNX model compared to sham operated control rats. Synovitis was significant 4 weeks after MMNX surgery, whereas significant chondropathy was first evident 8 weeks post-surgery, compared to sham controls. Pain behaviour is not always present despite significant changes in medial tibial plateau cartilage damage and synovitis, reflecting the heterogeneity seen in human OA. The development of a slowly progressing surgical model of OA pain in the rat suggests that synovitis precedes pain behaviour and that chondropathy is evident later, providing the foundations for future mechanistic studies into the disease.
  • Association of subchondral bone marrow lesion localisation with weight bearing pain in people with knee osteoarthritis: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative

    Walsh, David A (Arthritis Research & Therapy, 2021-01)
    Background Subchondral bone marrow lesions (BMLs) detected on MRI in knee osteoarthritis (OA) are associated with knee pain. The prevalence and progression of subchondral BMLs are increased by mechanical knee load. However, associations of subchondral BML location with weight-bearing knee pain are currently unknown. In this study, we aim to demonstrate associations of subchondral BML location and size with weight-bearing knee pain in knee OA. Methods We analyzed 1412 and 582 varus knees from cross-sectional and longitudinal Osteoarthritis Initiative datasets, respectively. BML scores were semi-quantitatively analyzed with the MRI Osteoarthritis Knee Score for 4 subchondral regions (median and lateral femorotibial, medial and lateral patellofemoral) and subspinous region. Weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing pain scores were derived from WOMAC pain items. Correlation and negative binomial regression models were used for analysis of associations between the BML scores and pain at baseline and changes in the BML scores and changes in pain after 24-month follow-up. Results Greater BML scores at medial femorotibial and lateral patellofemoral compartments were associated with greater weight-bearing pain scores, and statistical significance was retained after adjusting for BML scores at the other 4 joint compartments and other OA features, as well as for non-weight-bearing pain, age, sex, and body mass index (BMI) (medial femorotibial; B = 0.08, p = 0.02. patellofemoral; B = 0.13, p = 0.01). Subanalysis revealed that greater medial femorotibial BML scores were associated with greater pain on walking and standing (B = 0.11, p = 0.01, and B = 0.10, p = 0.04, respectively). Lateral patellofemoral BML scores were associated with pain on climbing, respectively (B = 0.14, p = 0.02). Increases or decreases over 24 months in BML score in the medial femorotibial compartment were significantly associated with increases or decreases in weight-bearing pain severity after adjusting for non-weight-bearing pain, age, sex, baseline weight-bearing pain, BMI, and BML at the other 4 joint compartments (B = 0.10, p = 0.01). Conclusions Subchondral BML size at the medial femorotibial joint compartment was specifically associated with the severity and the change in weight-bearing pain, independent of non-weight-bearing pain, in knee OA. Specific associations of weight-bearing pain with subchondral BMLs in weight-bearing compartments of the knee indicate that BMLs in subchondral bone contribute to biomechanically induced OA pain.
  • Using heterogeneity in disease to understand the relationship between health and personality

    Walsh, David A
    The aim of this study was to compare the relationship between two health outcomes (pain and self-reported health) and personality while accounting for heterogeneity in arthritic disease. Traditionally health research has treated patients' disease experiences as homogeneous but stratified medicine suggests that doing so might over-generalise findings and miss important effects. We present a longitudinal analysis over 14 years, on a subsample of 443 arthritic respondents from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Using linear regressions, we modelled how the Big Five domains of personality (wave 5) moderated the relationship between past (at wave 1) and present health (at wave 7). Then, to model heterogeneity in arthritis experience we included assignment to 4 different sub-groups based on their experience of pain progression. The results showed that modelling heterogeneity led to the identification of specific stratified effects for personality (neuroticism, agreeableness, and extraversion) not observed when these data are treated as homogenous. Higher agreeableness was associated with worse pain for those in a sub-group reporting the greatest pain, and higher extraversion was protective against pain among those whose pain improved. The results highlight the importance of modelling heterogeneity of disease.
  • Individual responses to topical ibuprofen gel or capsaicin cream for painful knee osteoarthritis: a series of n-of-1 trials

    Walsh, David A (Rheumatology (Oxford), 2021-05)
    Objectives: To determine individual responses to ibuprofen gel or capsaicin cream for painful, radiographic knee OA using a series of n-of-1 trials. Methods: Twenty-two participants were allocated 5% ibuprofen gel (A) and 0.025% capsaicin cream (B) in random sequence (AB or BA). Patients underwent up to 3 treatment cycles, each comprising one treatment for 4 weeks, an individualized washout period (maximum 4 weeks), then the other treatment for 4 weeks. Differential (ibuprofen or capsaicin) response was defined when change-from-baseline pain intensity scores (0-10 NRS) differed by ≥1 between treatments in ≥2 cycles within a participant. Results: A total of 104 treatment periods were aggregated. Mean pain reduction was 1.2 (95% CI: 0.5, 1.8) on ibuprofen and 1.6 (95% CI: 0.9, 2.4) on capsaicin (P = 0.221). Of 22 participants, 4 (18%) had a greater response to ibuprofen, 9 (41%) to capsaicin, 4 (18%) had similar responses, and 5 (23%) were undetermined. Conclusion: Irrespective of equal efficacy overall, 59% of people displayed a greater response to one treatment over the other. Patients who do not benefit from one type of topical treatment should be offered to try another, which may be more effective. N-of-1 trials are useful to identify individual response to treatment.
  • Long-term safety and efficacy of subcutaneous tanezumab versus nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for hip or knee osteoarthritis: A randomized trial

    Walsh, David A (Arthritis & Rheumatology, 2021-07)
    Objective: To assess the long-term safety and 16-week efficacy of subcutaneous tanezumab in patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: This was a phase III randomized, double-blind, active treatment-controlled (using nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs [NSAIDs] as the active treatment control) safety trial of tanezumab (56-week treatment/24-week posttreatment follow-up) in adults who were receiving stable-dose NSAID therapy at the time of screening and who had Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain and physical function scores of ≥5; patient global assessment (PtGA) of OA of fair, poor, or very poor; history of inadequate pain relief with standard analgesics; and no history or radiographic evidence of prespecified bone/joint conditions beyond OA. Patients received oral naproxen, celecoxib, or diclofenac twice daily (NSAID group; n = 996) or tanezumab 2.5 mg (n = 1,002) or 5 mg (n = 998) subcutaneously every 8 weeks. Coprimary efficacy end points at week 16 were changes in WOMAC pain and physical function scores and changes in PtGA. The primary joint safety end point over 80 weeks comprised adjudicated rapidly progressive OA type 1 or 2, primary osteonecrosis, subchondral insufficiency fracture, or pathologic fracture. Mean values, least squares mean values, and least squares mean differences between groups (with 95% confidence intervals [95% CIs]) were calculated. Results: Of 3,021 randomized patients, 2,996 received ≥1 treatment dose. Adverse events (AEs) were similar between patients treated with tanezumab 2.5 mg and those treated with NSAIDs, and were more prevalent in those treated with tanezumab 5 mg. Composite joint safety events were significantly more prevalent with tanezumab 2.5 mg and tanezumab 5 mg than with NSAIDs (observation time-adjusted rate/1,000 patient-years 38.3 [95% CI 28.0, 52.5] and 71.5 [95% CI 56.7, 90.2], respectively, versus 14.8 [95% CI 8.9, 24.6]; P = 0.001 for tanezumab 2.5 mg versus NSAIDs; P < 0.001 for tanezumab 5 mg versus NSAIDs). Tanezumab 5 mg significantly improved pain and physical function but did not improve PtGA at week 16 when compared to NSAIDs; corresponding differences between the tanezumab 2.5 mg and NSAID groups were not statistically significant. Conclusion: In patients previously receiving a stable dose of NSAIDs, tanezumab administered subcutaneously resulted in more joint safety events than continued NSAIDs, with differences being dose dependent. Pain and physical function improved with both doses of tanezumab compared to NSAIDs, reaching statistical significance with tanezumab 5 mg at 16 weeks.
  • Anxiety enhances pain in a model of osteoarthritis and is associated with altered endogenous opioid function and reduced opioid analgesia.

    Walsh, David A (Pain Reports, 2022-02)
    Introduction: Negative affect, including anxiety and depression, is prevalent in chronic pain states such as osteoarthritis (OA) and associated with greater use of opioid analgesics, potentially contributing to present and future opioid crises. Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that the interaction between anxiety, chronic pain, and opioid use results from altered endogenous opioid function. Methods: A genetic model of negative affect, the Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rat, was combined with intra-articular injection of monosodium iodoacetate (MIA; 1 mg) to mimic clinical presentation. Effects of systemic morphine (0.5-3.5 mg·kg-1) on pain behaviour and spinal nociceptive neuronal activity were compared in WKY and normo-anxiety Wistar rats 3 weeks after MIA injection. Endogenous opioid function was probed by the blockade of opioid receptors (0.1-1 mg·kg-1 systemic naloxone), quantification of plasma β-endorphin, and expression and phosphorylation of spinal mu-opioid receptor (MOR). Results: Monosodium iodoacetate-treated WKY rats had enhanced OA-like pain, blunted morphine-induced analgesia, and greater mechanical hypersensitivity following systemic naloxone, compared with Wistar rats, and elevated plasma β-endorphin levels compared with saline-treated WKY controls. Increased MOR phosphorylation at the master site (serine residue 375) in the spinal cord dorsal horn of WKY rats with OA-like pain (P = 0.0312) indicated greater MOR desensitization. Conclusions: Reduced clinical analgesic efficacy of morphine was recapitulated in a model of high anxiety and OA-like pain, in which endogenous opioid tone was altered, and MOR function attenuated, in the absence of previous exogenous opioid ligand exposure. These findings shed new light on the mechanisms underlying the increased opioid analgesic use in high anxiety patients with chronic pain.
  • Exploring Patient Preference Heterogeneity for Chronic Pain Treatments: A Latent Class Analysis

    Walsh, David A (European Journal of Pain, 2022-03)
    Background: Several pharmaceutical treatments for chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis (OA) and chronic low back pain (CLBP) are available or currently under development, each associated with different adverse events (AEs) and efficacy profiles. It is therefore important to understand what trade-offs patients are willing to make when choosing between treatments. Methods: A discrete-choice experiment (DCE) was conducted with 437 adults with chronic pain caused by OA and/or CLBP. Respondents were presented with a series of scenarios and asked to choose between pairs of hypothetical treatments, each defined by six attributes: level of symptom control; risks of heart attack, rapidly progressive osteoarthritis and dependency; frequency and mode of administration and cost. Attributes were based on known profiles of oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids and injected nerve growth factor inhibitors, the last of which were under clinical development at the time of the study. Data were analysed using a latent class (LC) model to explore preference heterogeneity. Results: Overall, respondents considered improving symptom control and reducing risk of physical dependency to be the most important attributes. The LC analysis identified four participant classes: an 'efficacy-focused' class (33.7%), a 'cost-averse' class (29.4%), a 'physical-dependence-averse' class (19.6%) and a 'needle-averse' class (17.3%). Subgroup membership was incompletely predicted by participant age and their responses to comprehension questions. Conclusions: Preference heterogeneity across respondents indicates a need for a personalized approach to offering treatment options. Symptom improvement, cost, physical dependence and route of administration might be important to different patients. Significance: Multiple treatment options that differ substantially in terms of efficacy and adverse events are available for the management of chronic pain. With a growing emphasis on a patient-centred care model that incorporates patients' priorities and values into treatment decisions, there is a need to understand how individuals with chronic musculoskeletal pain balance the benefits and risks of treatment and how treatment priorities vary among individuals. This study was designed to identify patient preferences for different characteristics of treatments for the management of chronic pain and to investigate how preferences differ among respondents.

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