As you know by now, I always strive to keep the Save Our Bones community up to date on the latest osteoporosis news. Today I have all kinds of interesting news to share with you, including a tiny new device that’s causing the Medical Establishment to question DXA scans as the “gold standard,” and a new futuristic method to fix fractured bones.
Also, NASA is seeking paid volunteers to lie in bed for more than two months at a time for yet another study on the effect of gravity on bones.
And finally, celebrate fall with a hilarious and adorable video that will make you smile.
Now let’s get to the news!
Breakthrough Technology Paves the Way for More Drugs
Scientists have developed a brand new miniature device that detects fracture risk long before a DXA scan would find low bone density.
Unlike existing methods of assessing bone fragility, which measure bone density using X-rays, the device is designed to measure the ability of bone tissue to prevent small cracks growing into full-blown fractures.
It does this by pressing a microscopic needle a tiny distance into the top layer of bone. Measured electronically, the amount of penetration indicates how fragile the bone tissue is and therefore the risk of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture later in life.
Osteoporosis is often referred to as fragile bone disease. However, for many sufferers, the first indication that they have the condition is when they actually sustain a fracture.”1
This is great news for Big Pharma, but bad news for uninformed patients, since more than likely this “early detection” method will significantly increase the number of osteoporosis drug prescriptions handed out by doctors.
As Savers know, osteoporosis drugs actually increase the risk for fracture, because they stop the process of bone remodeling. A crucial part of healthy remodeling is the loss of old bone so that new bone can be formed. But osteoporosis drugs stop the entire process in the name of “stopping bone loss.” The result is thick, hard, brittle bone that lacks tensile strength and is more prone to breakage.
The truth is that you don’t need to expose yourself to invasive tests to test your fracture risk. If you haven’t yet, check out this post that explains how to test your bone health at home. And if you wish to know your bone density, your best bet is to get a DXA scan.
The Future Has Arrived! Synthetic Bone Cement Injected Directly Into Damaged Bone
While cement has been already used to patch up compression fractures, the new injectable bone cement attempts to mimic the way corals quickly produce minerals. In fact, when injected, it allows for more bone growth inside the patients body.
I once concocted a fanciful breaking news story about scientists discovering a way to inject a cement-like material directly into your bones. While I was being silly in some ways, the intent of the imaginative news headline was to point out the direction the Medical Establishment is taking with regards to bone “care.”
It turns out there was more truth than fiction in my musings…
Meet Norian, the new injectable bone cement.
By 1995 the Norian team had performed animal and human trials of the procedure, and published ‘Skeletal Repair by in Situ Formation of the Mineral Phase of Bone’ in Science, the American Academy of Sciences journal. It was the most cited journal article of the year and showed how injecting a paste of monocalcium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate and a sodium phosphate solution into a damaged bone created an effective cement.
The injected paste hardened quickly and gained strength from the crystallization of the carbonated apatite contained. … The new method was successful for initial bone repair, but it was as a scaffold for new bone growth where it was most valuable. The dahllite mimicked the lattice disorder and impurities found in the mineral phase of natural bone, and most important, the solubility of the natural material. This allowed the body, using carbonic acid, to tunnel through the material to spread its capillaries and reform, thus making the material alive with the nutrients and cells necessary. In effect, the injected calcium phosphate formed a composite with new natural bone.2
What really concerns me is the potential side effects, which are scary to contemplate. What happens when this injected material leeches into the bloodstream? Can it travel to the heart or cause arterial blockages like high-dose calcium carbonate supplements? Will it migrate to the joints and cause stiffness and pain? Will patients’ immune systems attack the foreign material and create a cascade of auto-immune disease symptoms?
It’s too soon to tell for sure, but there’s just no way that a procedure this invasive won’t exact some price from its victims.
NASA Pays Volunteers to Stay in Bed for Weeks
In many ways, this news story may sound amusing. NASA paying people to stay in bed? But actually, the experiment NASA is performing has serious implications.
The purpose of the study is to research the effects of microgravity on the human body. The study simulates the effects of long-duration spaceflight by having test subjects lie in beds for the 70 day period. The beds are tilted head-down at a six-degree angle. According to Dr Cromwell, this tilt which causes body fluids to shift to the upper part of the body, sets off cardiovascular events that are similar to what we see in a space flight.
‘And by putting someone in bed for a long time, there is also atrophy of the muscle and atrophy of bone density,’ she explains.”3
NASA has been studying the effects of space travel on bone density for some time. You may wonder what this has to do with osteoporosis – after all, it’s gravity that causes falls and fractures! But Joe Neigut, Flight Analog project manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, says the effects of extended bed rest “can be applied to everyone on earth.”3
This is because what happens to the body in low gravity is similar to the effects of non-movement. Muscles atrophy, and bones lose density. Why does this happen?
Quite simply, bones and muscles have to be used to be strong. Exercise that involves bearing weight is not only most effective; it’s crucial. And in space, there’s no weight for true weight-bearing exercise.
It’s a bit unsettling to think that an inactive lifestyle can mimic an astronaut’s weightless environment. It’s vitally important that we exercise regularly to keep gravity working for us, so it doesn’t work against us in the form of falls.
Densercise Shows You How To Make Gravity Work For You
When I developed Densercise™, the exercise program specifically designed to increase bone density, I had this principle in mind: simple exercises that do not require special equipment and that you can do anytime, anywhere without getting bored.
So Densercise™ does not require any special equipment; all the exercises either use items you’ll find around your house (like chairs, towels, and even cans of food!), or no props at all. It only takes 15 minutes 3 days a week, and the exercises are designed to improve bone density.
The moves are simple to do, yet they target specific areas of the body that need strengthening because they are prone to fracture, such as wrists, hips, and ankles.
Additionally, each Densercise™ move specifies which muscles and bones you’re working and it also keeps things interesting with a full range of weight bearing, resistance, and flexibility exercises.
Best (And Cutest) Way to Celebrate Fall
And now I want to share something that truly made me smile. In the Northern half of the world, autumn has arrived and with it, lots of fallen leaves. The husky in this video has found a great way to exercise – playing in a huge leaf pile. Enjoy!
Till next time,
1 “Portable, low-cost early-warning test for osteoporosis.” Medicalxpress. September 17, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-09-portable-low-cost-early-warning-osteoporosis.html
2 McKeag, Tom. “Can mimicking marine biology cure osteoporosis?” GreenBiz. September 3, 2013. http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2013/09/03/can-mimicking-marine-biology-cure-osteoporosis
3 Ziegler, Maseena. “NASA Will Pay $18,000 To Watch You Rest In Bed – Really.” Forbes. September 18, 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/crossingborders/2013/09/18/nasa-will-pay-18000-to-watch-you-rest-in-bed-for-real/