Twelve weeks of daily, 30-minute sessions in 18-month old male mice – which equate to 55- to 65-year-old humans – appear to forestall the expected annual loss that can result in fractures, disability and death. Dr. Karl H. Wenger, biomedical engineer in the MCG Schools of Graduate Studies and Medicine, reported the findings with his colleagues in the journal Bone.
Researchers found vibration improved density around the hip joint with a shift toward higher density in the femur, the long bone of the leg, as well. Hip fractures are a major cause of disability and death among the elderly.
They also found a reduction in a biomarker that indicates bone breakdown and an increase in the surface area involved in bone formation in the vibrating group.
The findings provide more scientific evidence that the technique, which dates back to the 1800s and is now showing up in homes, gyms and rehabilitation clinics, has bone benefit, particularly as a low-risk option for injured individuals with limited mobility, Wenger said.
The scientists theorize that the rhythmic movement, which produces a sensation similar to that of a vibrating cell phone but on a larger scale, exercises cells so they work better. Vibration prompts movement of the cell nucleus, which is suspended by numerous threadlike fibers called filaments. "The filaments get all deformed like springs and then they spring back," Wenger said.
All the movement releases transcription factors that spur new osteoblasts, the cells that make bone. With age, the balance of bone production and destruction – by osteoclasts – tips to the loss side.
In the case of an injury, vibration acts on stem cells, the master controllers of the healing process. "We think that in fracture healing, you get a more dramatic response. We don't know exactly why it affects the biology differently but it's likely because of the extent to which stem cells invade the injured area," Wenger said. They have found that vibration slows stem cell proliferation, which may sound counterintuitive, but likely means more stem cells differentiate into bone cells rather than continuing to just make more generic stem cells. With age, stem cells have difficulty differentiating.
To see if their findings translate to the trauma clinic, they are evaluating vibration tolerance in patients with lower-limb fractures and finding, surprisingly, that even two weeks after injury the subtle vibration is soothing, rather than painful, to most.
The bone group, based in the MCG Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, also is working with Georgia Prevention Institute scientists to explore vibration's potential to improve glucose uptake – to see if vibration results in more insulin production or aids glucose clearance in some other way – and whether, like exercise, it can reduce fatty liver disease in chunky, pre-diabetic children.
In related studies, postmenopausal women at the peak age of bone decline, experienced results similar to those of Wenger's aging mice. Wenger's studies used only male mice to mitigate the impact of fluctuating hormones and focus on aging. In the human study, led by Dr. Clinton T. Rubin at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the women receiving daily whole body vibration didn't gain appreciable bone but they did not lose it either.
While vibration lacks the same cardiovascular benefit of exercise, animal and human studies also have shown it can improve muscle strength and weight loss.
Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences