Mechanical stimulation increases bone density
Last Updated: 2001-08-08 14:00:36 EDT (Reuters Health)
WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – Mechanical stimulation with very-low-magnitude, high frequency vibration of the proximal femurs of sheep appears to significantly increase the density of spongy bone, according to a report in the August 9th issue of Nature. Researchers suggest that this may ultimately provide a new treatment strategy for osteoporosis patients.
Dr. Clinton Rubin from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and colleagues studied the effects on bone density of high-frequency (30 Hz) mechanical accelerations applied to the hind legs of 6- to 8-year-old Warhill ewes. According to the report, the sheep received ground-based vertical oscillation for 20 minutes per day, 5 days a week, for 1 year.
When not being treated, the researchers note, the test animals roamed freely in a pasture with control animals.
Compared with controls, the sheep receiving mechanical stimulation showed a 34.2% greater density of trabecular bone in the proximal femur (p < 0.01). In addition, undecalcified bone histology revealed an increase in trabecular bone volume of 32%, an increase in trabecular mesh number of 45% and a reduction in mesh spacing of 36%. This indicates "an increase in the mean width of each trabecular element and the addition of new trabeculae."
Dr. Rubin's group concludes that "the strong bone-generating capacity of these small signals suggests that biomechanical intervention might help to strengthen bone in osteoporosis sufferers without the side-effects associated with pharmacological treatment."
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