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Fun Exercise Equals Pain Relief For Women Suffering With Knee Osteoarthritis

bridgettB-CU’s College of Health Sciences (CHS) is continuing its research studying minority health and health disparities in chronic disease self-management among African American and non-Hispanic White women, ages 45-75, with knee osteoarthritis (OA) pain. The research project, supported by a grant of $726,531 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is referred to as the Pain, Physical Activity, Aging, Arthritis Study (PPAAS) and is led by Dr. Bridgette Rahim-Williams, who the associate dean of research at B-CU.  The research is uncovering the connection between fun, physical activities and the painful ailments associated with osteoarthritis.  The research is expected to continue through 2018.

PPAAS involves innovative investigation of the effects of exergaming exercise, chronic pain, quantitative sensory testing, and functional mobility.  The study aims to answer the question: If exercise is fun, can it distract from joint pain and improve physical functioning?  The tools used in the research center include: questionnaires, informed consent, Exergame Cycling, and blood pressure and heart rate monitors.   The factors that contribute to OA include: recreational or occupational joint injury, health behaviors, obesity or overweight, nutrition, physical inactivity, functional limitations, and medical mistrust.  The study’s intent is to identify things that can improve OA.  Thus far, the research has determined that engaging in joint-friendly activities such as walking, swimming, biking helps with self-management.  These activities are effective for improving arthritis pain outcomes and functional mobility.  

Additionally, the PPAAS also offers preventive strategies including educational and behavioral Interventions, social support/community resources, culture and nutritional modifications and arthritis self-help courses.  My research team and I

have been excited about this particular study and is proud of the progress made thus far.  This study affects so many minority women and B-CU is working hard to uncover more information for those who suffer from OA,” says Dr. Rahim-Williams.  

Dr. Rahim-Williams works within The Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research (CMMHDR), which is housed in The Petrock College of Health Sciences.  It is an interdisciplinary and translational science, minority health and health disparities research center which focuses on four projects:

1. "Exergaming (Games for Health) Physical Activity and Functional Mobility among Women with Knee Osteoarthritis:"

2.  "Faith-based Health Houses for Diabetes Self-Management among Community-dwelling Adults."

3.  "Pain and Pain Treatment among Women with HIV"

4.  "Language of Pain and Pain Treatment among Individuals with Knee Osteoarthritis"

Dr. Rahim-Williams has many years of experience studying minority women's health and chronic disease co-morbidities with a focus on type II diabetes, HIV/AIDS and chronic pain.  She is a Senior Research (DREAM) Fellow of the NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and partnered with BD2K (Big Data Science for the Social and Behavioral Sciences).

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit