Friday 30 August 2019

Marla Ahlgrimm | New Hope For Osteoporosis

Marla Ahlgrimm
Osteoporosis is a disease well-known to women. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that women beyond menopause are the most at-risk of the condition, which happens when bone tissue cannot regenerate faster than it is lost. Researchers at Duke University have recently identified a biochemical receptor in mice that may change everything.

Q: What is osteoporosis?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Osteoporosis is often called brittle bone disease. Many people do not realize it, but bone is actually living tissue. Just like skin and hair, it wears down and regenerates continually. Unfortunately, bone regeneration slows with age, and shifting hormones in women can make bone growth grind to a near halt.

Q: How is osteoporosis treated?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The vast majority of physicians recommend eating a diet high in calcium and vitamin D, exercising, and, in advanced cases, taking medications that stop bone loss.

Q: Is stopping or slowing bone loss enough?

Marla Ahlgrimm: In the early stages, yes. However, stopping bone loss does not replace nor does it strengthen bones. Biomedical engineers at Duke have found that injecting a synthetic form of adenosine (a chemical found naturally in the body) directly into specific receptors in mice completely reverses the effects of bone degradation. The study does not mean that we can eradicate the condition, but it does give hope that women in the future might have some additional ways to protect themselves.

Q: Why not take a supplement with adenosine; wouldn’t that have the same effect?

Marla Ahlgrimm: No. Adenosine has many different roles in the human body. It works to regulate blood flow to specific organs and has an effect on neurons. Taking a supplement or doing an intravenous injection would flood the body and can affect areas beyond the bones. There are many other studies in the works, and it may take many years, but there is hope that bone-growth drugs may be on the way.


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