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Computer models helps assess the burden of osteoarthritis and low back pain

 

Scientific Study titles:

Scientific Study 1: A comparison of three strategies to reduce the burden of osteoarthritis: A population-based microsimulation study

Scientific Study 2: Reducing the burden of low back pain: results from a new microsimulation model

 

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Jacek Kopec, Arthritis Research Canada Researcher, Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health

 

Start Date and End Date:

July 2015 to June 2022

 

What were the key findings?

In the OA study, reductions in DALYs depended on the type of intervention, magnitude of the intervention, and the time horizon. Medical interventions (a targeted increase in the use of painkillers) tended to produce effects quickly and were, therefore, most effective over a short time horizon (a decade). Surgical interventions (increased access to joint replacement) were most effective over a medium time horizon (two decades or longer). Preventive interventions required a substantial change in BMI to generate a significant impact, but produced more reduction in DALYs than treatment strategies over a very long time horizon (several decades).

In the LBP study, the effects of the interventions were as follows: 27,993 (95% CI 23,373, 32,614) YLDs averted over 20 years per 0.1 unit change in log-transformed BMI (9.5% change in BMI) among individuals who were overweight and those with obesity, 19,416 (16,275, 22,557) YLDs per 1% reduction in the proportion of workers exposed to occupational risks, and 26,058 (22,455, 29,661) YLDs averted per 1% increase in the proportion of eligible patients with back problems participating in an exercise program.

 

What was done?

In the OA study, we simulated the number of people with OA and their quality of life in Canada in a computer model. We then tested “what-if” scenarios in which we changed the prevalence of obesity, use of painkillers and rates of surgery in Canada to find out how the number of people with OA and their quality of life would change as a result.

In the LBP study, we also modeled the Canadian population. The population health impact of the interventions was calculated as a difference in years lived with disability (YLDs) between the base-case scenario and each intervention scenario, and expressed as YLDs averted per intervention unit or a proportion (%) of total LBP-related YLDs.   

SimYouLate is flexible, continuous-time microsimulation software, designed specifically for modelers with no programming background and particularly suitable for population health modeling. The LBP study has demonstrated how SimYouLate can be used to develop and apply complex intervention models rapidly.   

 

Who was involved? 

Investigators in this study were ARC researchers and a representative of policymakers.  

 

Co-investigators:

John Esdaile, MD, MPH, Scientific Director Emeritus, Arthritis Research Canada, Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia;

Jolanda Cibere, MD, PhD, Arthritis Research Canada Researcher, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia;

Linda Li, MSc, PhD, Arthritis Research Canada Researcher, Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia;

Hubert Wong, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia;

Nick Bansback, MSc, PhD, Arthritis Research Canada Researcher, Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia;

Eric Sayre, PhD, Arthritis Research Canada Research Associate

 

 

Additional Information

Publications:
  1. Kopec JA, Sayre EC, Okhmatovskaia A, Cibere J, Li LC, Bansback N, Wong H, Ghanbarian S, Esdaile JM. A comparison of three strategies to reduce the burden of osteoarthritis: A population-based microsimulation study. PLOS ONE. 2021 Dec 8;16(12):e0261017. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261017.
  2. Kopec JA, Sayre EC, Cibere J, Li LC, Wong H, Okhmatovskaia A, Esdaile JM. Reducing the burden of low back pain: results from a new microsimulation model. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2022;23(1):804.
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