The Latest Osteoporosis Studies

Latest Osteoporosis Studies

Are there the latest osteoporosis studies?

Research is an ongoing process. Even after several decades of understanding osteoporosis, we can still learn more about the pathogenesis of this disease. 

There is more to learn about the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. Several research studies are being conducted to assess the efficiency and accuracy of different methods for the early diagnosis of this condition. 

Clinical research and the latest osteoporosis studies are also being conducted to find new remedies to prevent the progress of this disease.

The Latest Osteoporosis Studies Are Focused:

1. Pathogenesis of osteoporosis

For years, we have understood osteoporosis as a disease that makes the bones fragile due to menopause, aging, and the lack of calcium and vitamin D in the body.

Today, advances in medical research are shedding more light on the risk factors for osteoporosis.

Researchers are also trying to find better diagnostic tools to detect this disease at an early stage. Currently, most patients are advised to undergo bone density tests like a DEXA scan

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However, the DEXA can only tell you how much of the bone density is present, which is the amount of mineral in the bone tissue, and not much about the bone’s internal structure.

Researchers are, therefore, studying other imaging techniques that would allow them to look within the bones to check their specific structural characteristics. This will help them to build a model of bone density, allowing physicians to predict which patients are more likely to have fractures. [1]

2. Treatment in menopausal women

The risk of osteoporosis is significantly higher in menopausal and postmenopausal women. Hence, there is a large focus on finding new methods of treatment to correct hormonal imbalances and other factors responsible for increasing the risk of this condition. Attempts have also been made to understand the exact pathogenesis of osteoporosis and why it occurs at a faster rate after menopause.

One research study has revealed the role of mitochondria in the development of osteoporosis. This study has shown that estrogens can decrease the number of osteoclasts, with their ability to attenuate ATP production and oxidative phosphorylation by the mitochondria in the early osteoclast precursors. 

According to the research study published in the Scientific Reports, “The loss of estrogens at menopause is a major cause of osteoporosis and increased fracture risk. Estrogens protect against bone loss by decreasing osteoclast numbers through direct actions on cells of the myeloid lineage. 17β-estradiol (E2) decreased osteoclast numbers by promoting the apoptosis of early osteoclast progenitors, but not mature osteoclasts. These findings demonstrate that estrogens decrease osteoclast numbers by attenuating respiration, and thereby, promoting mitochondrial apoptotic death of early osteoclast progenitors.” [2]

This study may help to establish the link between the loss of bone mineral density and other symptoms of menopause associated with reduced mitochondrial functions. 

More in-depth research into this topic would enable researchers to find innovative treatments focused on improving energy production by mitochondria and decreasing the number of osteoclasts to slow down the development of osteoporosis.

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3. Bone remodeling

Now that researchers understand the importance of bone remodeling, they are using that knowledge to predict the risk factors for osteoporosis. [3]

There is research to develop biomarkers that can measure the rate of bone remodeling. Once accurate biomarkers have been developed, it will enormously improve the risk assessment methods for patients prone to develop osteoporosis. [4] [5]

4. Treatment for accelerating repair  

Fracture is the most common complication of osteoporosis. When it occurs, it creates a huge strain on the routine life of patients. [6]

A fracture may take 6 to 12 weeks to heal. The period may be longer in older patients or those with a very low bone mineral density. 

Current research and the latest osteoporosis studies are focused on finding medications and treatments that would accelerate the repair of fractured bones to enable patients to resume their routine activities in a shorter period.  

A research study has shown that bone bandage made of certain materials would soak up pro-healing biochemicals like adenosine in them and thus, accelerate repair. 

This bandage is designed to capture the pro-healing molecules of adenosine. Adenosine, in turn, would briefly surge at the site of a fracture to improve the natural repair mechanisms. 

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This bandage may also promote faster vascularization and callus formation to achieve better healing of the bones in a shorter duration. 

According to this research study published in the ScienceDaily, “Not only do the adenosine-trapping bandages promote healing, but they also work whether they’re trapping native adenosine or are artificially loaded with it, which has important implications in treating bone fractures associated with aging and osteoporosis.” [7]

This new treatment method is also expected to support bone formation and improve bone volume thereby making the bones stronger and more resistant to fractures. 

5. High bone mass gene 

New osteoporosis treatments are focused on assessing the risk factors for osteoporosis that could be genetically linked. 

A particular mutation in some genes has been found to cause the body to produce an abnormally high amount of a protein, LRP5. This protein may influence how much bone can be formed and maintained in the body.

More research is needed to understand how this gene influences the pathogenesis of osteoporosis so that this knowledge can be used for the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. [8]

Conclusion

The coming years are expected to see a rise in the number of research studies focused on assessing the efficacy of new treatments for managing osteoporosis. Positive outcomes of these latest osteoporosis studies would allow physicians to recommend more effective treatments to men and women with osteoporosis and reduce their risk of fractures.

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References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/osteoporosis-on-the-cutting-edge-of-bone-health#
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-68890-7
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1936523316302236
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5105571/
  5. https://biomarkerres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40364-017-0097-4
  6. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/women/osteoporosis
  7. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191213115416.htm
  8. https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/osteoporosis-on-the-cutting-edge-of-bone-health#3

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