In conclusion, though there are numerous opportunities and different approaches to studying the epidemiology of OA, we have concentrated on some of the methodological problems and difficulties inherent in these methods. We think it is important that researchers are aware of these problems before undertaking such studies. In addition, readers of published studies need to be aware of these potential pitfalls before being able to make valid judgements on research papers. We hope, however, that stressing these problems does not dissuade present and future investigators from participating in this area of research. Despite difficulties inherent in the epidemiology of chronic diseases and OA in particular, studies may uncover modifiable risk factors for the development and progression of OA which could lead to important preventive strategies.
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