Creighton Osteoporosis Study Takes Patients to New York
When Bellevue resident Martha Todd recently boarded a plane for a free trip to New York City, including a one-night hotel stay, sightseeing was the furthest thing from her mind.
Todd is a participant in a joint research project involving Creighton University’s Osteoporosis Research Center and Columbia University’s Metabolic Bone Disease Program in New York City.
As part of the three-year study, more than 20 Creighton participants will be flown to New York City to undergo a bone examination using Columbia’s new high-resolution, computed tomography scanner – one of only a handful of such scanners in the United States.
The scanner and the study will be featured on NBC’s The Today Show. The segment is tentatively scheduled to air between 7- 8 a.m. on Nov. 2.
Creighton and Columbia researchers hope the noninvasive scans will provide the kind of detailed information previously possible only by surgically removing a piece of bone from the patient through a procedure known as percutaneous bone biopsy.
“Currently, it is very difficult to identify women at risk of bone fractures before they actually experience fractures,” said Robert Recker, M.D., director of the Creighton Osteoporosis Research Center and principal investigator for the Creighton portion of the study.
“Our goal is to find possible causes for women with low bone mass,” he noted. “Such a discovery could eventually lead to a treatment that would help young women improve their bone health.”
Osteoporosis, or low bone mass, typically affects postmenopausal women and places them at increased risk for fractures. However, the disease may also affect premenopausal women (and some men). For many young women, the causes of their low bone density, which can lead to fractures, are unknown.
The Creighton study includes premenopausal women, ages 20-48, with regular menstrual periods. The study is still accepting participants who suffer from osteoporosis or are experiencing nontraumatic fractures. For information about the study, contact the research center at 402.280.4839.
In addition to the scans, participants will undergo other tests to measure their bone health. Researchers have recently determined that bone density is not the only measurement of bone strength. The quality of bone –defined as the sum of all that allows bone to withstand ordinary loads without fracturing – is garnering increased attention from the scientific community.