Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Portable, low-cost early-warning test for osteoporosis

Date:
September 17, 2013
Source:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Summary:
A handheld device for diagnosing the early signs of osteoporosis could be available for clinical use within five years.

A tiny probe can test the strength of a patient’s bones and could reveal early signs of osteoporosis.
Credit: Louise Coutts, University of Southampton

A handheld device for diagnosing the early signs of osteoporosis could be available for clinical use within five years.

The technology is currently being refined and tested at the University of Southampton with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The original concept was invented at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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.

Drugs can slow or arrest the development of the disease, but the condition may already be quite advanced by the time the first break has happened. Doctors can estimate an individual's risk of fracturing by using bone-density measurements and other factors such as age, gender, smoking and any history of fracturing. But the new microindentation technology affordably delivers a fundamentally different measurement that has huge potential to refine such an evaluation.

A normal reading might see the needle sink into the bone by around 20 micrometres (0.02 mm); a reading of 40 micrometres might indicate a significant risk of fracture.

"As the population ages and life expectancy rises in the decades ahead, the cost of treating osteoporotic fractures will increase," says Professor Philipp Thurner of the University of Southampton, who is leading the project. "One in three women aged over 50 is forecast to experience an osteoporotic fracture in her lifetime and, globally, treatment costs are forecast to reach over US$130 billion by 2050. The potential improvement in assessing osteoporosis and future fracture risk offered by this new technology could reduce the burden of broken bones for individuals, healthcare systems and the economy.

"We're currently inviting patients at Southampton General Hospital who have had a hip replacement due to a broken hip to take part in the Observational Study Examining Osteoporosis (OStEO), which is investigating handheld microindentation with EPSRC funding. We would also specifically like to thank the 23 patients who have agreed to take part in the study so far."

"The National Osteoporosis Society welcomes new research in understanding bone health and osteoporosis, and this new study is certainly interesting," says Claire Bowring, Medical Policy Manager at the National Osteoporosis Society.

"Bone density scanning is the 'gold-standard' diagnostic tools. However it is not a perfect measure of bone strength and does not show the quality of bone. New techniques, which look at further measures of bone fragility, are very important in developing our understanding of osteoporosis and bone health and in helping to reduce the number of fragility fractures."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). "Portable, low-cost early-warning test for osteoporosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130917090211.htm>.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). (2013, September 17). Portable, low-cost early-warning test for osteoporosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130917090211.htm
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). "Portable, low-cost early-warning test for osteoporosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130917090211.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins