Researchers seek better treatments for osteoporosis
We all lose bone as we get older - it's a natural part of the aging process.
In fact, bone loss in the spine can cause a person to shrink by as much as a third of an inch every ten years after age 40.
Osteoporosis, or brittle bones that cause hairline fractures, can accelerate the process.
Sally Bollich isn't old, but she knows aging does increase her risk for osteoporosis. That's why she volunteered to be part of a groundbreaking new study at Tulane University.
The study looks at participants' DNA to see if there's a relation with a specific gene that might be something researchers could focus on.
While every volunteer undergoes a battery of free tests including a bone density scan, the goal of the research is to find new ways to attack osteoporosis.
Pinpointing a gene linked to brittle bones would be a welcome step in that direction since current treatments fall woefully short for many people.
Osteoporosis is a painful, potentially crippling disease. For people over 65, it can be deadly because of the physical and mental complications that come with it.
Gene based therapies are already helping beat back cancer and some other diseases.
Now Tulane researchers hope discoveries they make genetically dissecting osteoporosis could lead to similar advances for people with that condition. In fact, they say this study may lead to new ways to treat or even prevent brittle bone disease.