Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis that affects 1 in 7 US adults and roughly 21.5% of Floridians.
While the disease is associated with aging, more than half of adults with OA range in age from 18-64 years. Andrews Research & Education Foundation (AREF) has stepped into action to find innovative orthopedic interventions through clinical trials to alleviate the effects of OA. As former Mayor of our beautiful city of Pensacola, and current President of AREF, I am dedicated and fueled for the fight against this painful orthopedic condition especially in our community.
OA is most frequently found in the hands, hips, and knees. The cartilage within the joint begins to break down, bringing changes to the underlying bone. These changes typically develop slowly and worsen over time, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. The effects of OA are felt not only by those with the disease, but by their friends, families, employers, and communities as well. However, OA is not the inevitable result of aging. That is why AREF is committed to assisting in its prevention and management to give the citizens of our incredible community the highest quality of life through the power of science!
Under the guidance of Dr. James Andrews, AREF’s clinical research team analyzes the safety and efficacy of new treatment options to address OA. These innovative interventions include treatment with platelet-rich plasma and even blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy. BFR therapy is essentially a ‘kick-start’ to each person’s own immune response without outside influence on their body.
OA does not discriminate. It affects all people of any gender, age, genetics, or race, both professional athletes and lay people alike. Due to this widespread reach, the AREF team includes professional athletes, local mothers, fathers, business owners, etc., in the research population. This ensures ALL are represented and have access to the highest level of professional medical care, which can always be found at the Andrews Institute.
AREF’s team of highly trained orthopedists are also tirelessly working to prevent post-traumatic osteoarthritis before it even occurs. To bring this to fruition, patient education on self-management, physical activity, weight management, and injury prevention is of great importance. AREF is dedicated to creating strategies for patients to maintain healthy habits and preventative activities to complete prior to undergoing any orthopedic intervention.
Optimal quality of life is a goal for us all individually and a goal AREF has for everyone collectively! Putting these very words into action, AREF’s Regenerative Medicine Center (RMC) located in Gulf Breeze, Florida, boasts current research trials and pioneers the translation of regenerative medicine treatments. These early clinical benchtop studies are set to be the point of care treatments for ALL patients.
Standard of care does not end there, but rather starts! The RMC is also used to train the next generation of orthopedists, utilizing the standard of excellence that is set at Andrews Research & Education Foundation.
Are you interested in learning more about our current research initiatives? Potentially would like to participate in one of our many research studies used to further our mission at Andrews Research & Education Foundation? Visit andrewsref.org today!
President, Andrews Institute Research and Education Foundation
Former Mayor of Pensacola (2011 – 2018)
*Note from Local Pulse Editor: Ashton Hayward is a part of our Community Voices series. Community Voices is a group of Pensacola dwellers that are making a difference in our city by sharing best practices, experiences, their perspective on impactful subjects, and contributing expertise that leads to movement forward for a stronger community.