Mechanical stimulation with high frequency vibrations strengthens bones affected by osteoporosis
Pound for pound, human bone is stronger than steel. But for three million people in the UK, osteoporosis has left their bones weakened. Current drug treatments come with numerous side effects. Some with the disease therefore choose alternative therapies, including mechanical stimulation of their bones through exercise. However, this mainly targets weight-bearing bones and doesn't help the alveolar bones of the jaw, which hold our teeth in place. Unsurprisingly, tooth loss is more common in osteoporosis patients. Researchers therefore investigated whether stimulating these bones with vibrations called high frequency acceleration (HFA) could strengthen them. In mice with osteoporosis, HFA was applied to one-half of their jaws but not the other. The alveolar bones were then imaged using micro-CT (pictured). The quality and quantity of HFA-treated alveolar bone (upper) were significantly better than non-treated bone (bottom). More research is needed to find out if this will work in osteoporosis patients too.
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