Osteoporosis research to be presented at House of Commons
10 April 2000
University of Hull research on modelling the effects of osteoporosis will be displayed in the House of Commons on Monday, April 10, as part of a presentation for MPs and other influential members of the science community.
The School of Engineering, the Centre for Metabolic Bone Disease and the Department of Computer Science have had a poster accepted for presentation at a showcase of the best of British science, engineering and technology, marking National Science Week.
Researcher Catherine Dobson, funded by leading medical charity Action Research, will be presenting the poster, entitled Modelling the effects of osteoporosis - addressing a serious health issue for an ageing population in the 21st Century.
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects one in three women and one in 12 men, leading to 200,000 fractures per year in the UK - that's one fracture every 3 minutes.
The estimated cost of fractures to the National Health Service is in excess of £750 million a year. This figure will increase significantly with escalating life expectancy and the associated increase in the number of cases of osteoporosis.
The research involves a computer modelling technique to quantify the effects of osteoporosis on human bones. The technique is normally used for the design of cars and aircraft.
The investigation begins with a simulation of the processes involved in the normal renewal of the bone (osteoporosis occurs when there is an imbalance in these processes). The simulation produces images of the gradual decline in the bone's structure and can predict the likely change in the stresses of the bone, allowing the reduction in strength and stiffness of the bone to be predicted.
The same computer models are also being used to predict the effect of treatments which are prescribed to maintain and rebuild bone density.
The research is leading to a better understanding of the effects of the disease and the effectiveness of different therapies. It may also have implications for the screening procedures currently used to detect the disease in individuals, intervening before the risk of fracture becomes too great.
For a free leaflet which details Action Research’s work into osteoporosis please send an SAE to Action Research, Vincent House, North Parade, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 2DP
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