Past Events

May 16: Arthritis - Where Engineering Principles Played a Role

Dr. Barry Koehler, MD FRCPC, Clinical Professor Emeritus, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, UBC presented a talk on May 16, 2018 about Arthritis: Where Engineering Principles Played a Role.


Topic:   Evening presentation on Arthritis - Where Engineering Principles Played a Role   Dr. Barry Koehler
Presenter:   Dr. Barry Khoeler, MD FRCPC Clinical Professor Emeritus Department of Medicine UBC
Date:   Wednesday May 16
Time:   7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Venue:   Accent Inns Burnaby
3777 Henning Drive, Burnaby V5C 6N5

Presentation Summary

Arthritis represents a collection of more than 100 diseases, nearly all (but not all) of which are characterized by involvement of the joints and/or the adjacent tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common of the inflammatory forms of arthritis, although there are many other members of this family.  Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the joints of the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. The joint effect is usually symmetrical. That means if one knee or hand if affected, usually the other one is, too. Because RA also can affect body systems, such as the cardiovascular or respiratory systems, it is called a systemic disease. Systemic means "entire body."

Osteoarthritis is familiar to most of us and is commonly thought to affect all of us, sooner or later … and it often does. However, the most common types of arthritis involve only the tissues around the joint, entities such as bursitis, tendonitis and fibromyalgia.

Fact or fiction about arthritis:

  • Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis
  • Arthritis is something you get when you get old
  • Using your joints excessively wears them out
  • There are over 100 different types of arthritis
  • Arthritis may make you wish you were dead, but it doesn't kill you
  • You get gout because you drink too much and eat too much red meat
  • Those drugs for treating arthritis are more dangerous than the disease

The answers to these, as well as recent advances in the field, were reviewed, with recognition of areas where engineering principles have played a role. A summary of the talk can be followed on the slides below...

 Seminar slides

 Referenced publication
"Compensated Polarized Light Microscopy Using Cellophane Adhesive Tape"
Terrence J. Fagan and Martin D. Lidsky
Arthritis and Rheumatism, Vol. 17, No. 3 (MayJune 1974)

 Seminar brochure

About the speaker

Dr. Barry Koehler practiced rheumatology since 1973, having received his Certification from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada that year. He practiced in Thunder Bay, ON for the first 10 years, as clinical rheumatologist. While there, he established one of the first rheumatic disease units outside an academic centre, a unit which continues to this time. He then became Medical Director for the Arthritis Society of British Columbia and the Yukon from 1984-89, following which he conducted a private rheumatology practice in Richmond, BC. Throughout that time he held a clinical faculty position in the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, presently that of Clinical Professor Emeritus.

He was the President of the Canadian Rheumatology Association from 1994-96 and was named Distinguished Rheumatologist by that organization in 2002. Since 2009 he has participated in teaching an annual rheumatology programme for senior medical students at Zhongshan Medical School, Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou.

He retired from clinical practice in 2015 but continues to be involved in clinical rheumatology.