New technologies improving the odds for osteoporosis patients

August 23, 2013 by Keri Janton

The older we get, the greater our risk of developing osteoporosis becomes. The fragile bone disease affects about 9 million Americans, and experts from the National Osteoporosis Foundation predict that it will be responsible for approximately 3 million fractures by 2025. The good news is that there are several innovative options aimed at improving the effects of osteoporosis, and one treatment that may someday prevent the disease.

INTEGRATED OUTCOMES NETWORK

After watching his grandmother struggle for years with osteoporosis, Dr. Christopher Recknor decided to dedicate his career to the disease. As medical director of the United Osteoporosis Centers in Gainesville, Ga., he has tracked patients' since 2007 and, combining that information with other data, created the Integrated Outcomes Network, or ION, a that assesses each patient's risk of fracture.

"There are lots of who are trying to be very functional and active," said Dr. Recknor. "The issue for the physician is to establish whether or not the patient is safe in being functional and active. We've shown that we can measure safety and predict fracture based upon that."

Since launching ION three years ago, Recknor said the refracture rate under his care has dropped from 14 percent to 3 percent, well below the national average.

CRYOTHERAPY

Cold therapy has gained popularity in recent years as a treatment to reduce the pain of athletes' sore muscles, among other uses.

According to Lauren Polivka, a licensed physical therapist and wellness coach at Icebox Cryotherapy Center, it's helpful to osteoporosis patients, too.

"Pain for most osteoporosis patients is due to compression in the , lack of mobility and the that has resulted," she said. "Cryotherapy is a safe, short, effective treatment that will affect the entire system."

The treatment involves applying to the client's skin for 30 seconds or less, which dramatically reduces the body temperature for a few minutes. The theory is that the skin reacts by sending messages to the brain, which stimulates the regulatory functions of the body.

"Osteoporosis generally doesn't cause discomfort in just one area," said Polivka, "so with the cryotherapy being systemic, it's teaching the body how to combat pain and inflammation. The body goes into a healing state with the constant blood flow to the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and that is what is so beneficial with osteoporosis pain management."

NANOTECHNOLOGY

There are plenty of medications on the market that treat osteoporosis, such as Fosamax and Miacalcin.

Dr. M. Neale Weitzmann and Dr. George R. Beck, associate professors in the Emory University Department of Medicine, hope that in 10 years or so, they will have developed a nanotechnology treatment that changes the way the disease is treated and could possibly prevent it entirely. It is in the patent stage now, and is and still being tested on lab mice.

"The hope is that this drug development could be useful in multiple forms of osteoporosis," said Dr. Weitzmann. "It could aid post-menopausal osteoporosis with women, age-related osteoporosis with men - it could even help with rarer causes of osteoporosis, like HIV and sickle cell disease in children."

This promising drug works on the molecular level by reducing bone breakdown and promoting bone formation. Most drugs, said Dr. Weitzmann, only focus on bone reabsorption.

"If everything goes as we plan, we could provide preventative measures, rather than just treatment after the fact," said Weitzmann. "The standard of care for could change completely."

OSTEOPOROSIS RESOURCES

United Osteoporosis Center for Gainesville. www.uochs.org/UOC/home.html

Ice Box Cryotherapy. www.iceboxtherapy.com

National Osteoporosis Foundation. www.nof.org.

Explore further: Experts recommend men at risk for osteoporosis undergo bone density testing

shares

Related Stories

Secondary osteoporosis: More than what meets the eye

October 9, 2012

An SGH study has revealed that considering all osteoporotic patients as having simple osteoporosis and treating all of them alike by putting them on potent long term medication without finding out the cause of their osteoporosis ...

Osteoporosis risk factors after the menopause

November 13, 2012

A preliminary study of 127 post-menopausal women on hormone replacement therapy in Portugal suggests that there are several risk factors associated with osteoporosis and bone fracture these include age, low bone mineral density, ...

Simple reminders may help prevent fractures

April 17, 2013

Reminding primary care doctors to test at-risk patients for osteoporosis can prevent fractures and reduce health care costs, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical ...

Common osteoporosis drug slows formation of new bone

April 17, 2013

Although the drug zoledronic acid slows bone loss in osteoporosis patients, it also boosts levels of a biomarker that stops bone formation, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal ...

Recommended for you

Zika virus may persist in the vagina days after infection

August 25, 2016

The Zika virus reproduces in the vaginal tissue of pregnant mice several days after infection, according to a study by Yale researchers. From the genitals, the virus spreads and infects the fetal brain, impairing fetal development. ...

In sub-Saharan Africa, cancer can be an infectious disease

August 26, 2016

In 1963, Irish surgeon Denis Parson Burkitt airmailed samples of an unusual jaw tumor found in Ugandan children to his colleague, Anthony Epstein, at Middlesex Hospital in London. Epstein, an expert in chicken viruses and ...

Team discovers how Zika virus causes fetal brain damage

August 24, 2016

Infection by the Zika virus diverts a key protein necessary for neural cell division in the developing human fetus, thereby causing the birth defect microcephaly, a team of Yale scientists reported Aug. 24 in the journal ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.