A new technique, which can be used to reveal the strength of bones could prove to be a useful tool in assessing the likelihood of fracturing a particular bone, an article published online in the Journal of Bone Mineral Research, says.
Scientists have developed a laser imaging technique that can be used to accurately map the bone density thereby predicting future risk of fracturing that particular bone. This technique can be particularly useful in predicting the development of osteoporosis in young women. Traditionally, the only way to predict bone strength has been through X-rays, but these can only measure part of the strength of the bone. Using this new technique we can get a more complete measurement, allowing us to predict better the risk of fractures as a result of osteoporosis," said Dr Edward Draper of Imperial College London and the Royal Veterinary College, and the lead researchers in the study.
X-rays have traditionally been used to predict the bone mineral density, which is only a part of the overall strength of the bones. The new technique called the Raman spectroscopic technique allows the measurement of the collagen present in the bone. The researchers who took part in this study are from Imperial College London, the Royal Veterinary College, University College London, University of Michigan, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK, spectral components of overlying tissues.
They plan to use the technique to asses the risk of fracture in adolescence itself so that corrective steps like increasing exercise to build up bone mass can be undertaken. 'We hope we can further develop this technique, and use it as part of a national screening programme which hopefully could be done in any GP's surgery. By identifying the risk of any problems developing early enough, this could make an enormous difference to the health of individuals,' Dr Draper concluded.