Osteoporosis, which means porous bones, is a disease that thins and weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. The vast majority of individuals affected by osteoporosis are women. Although the disease can strike at any age, the greatest risk for fractures from osteoporosis occurs after menopause. This is because women’s bodies produce less oestrogen after menopause, and oestrogen plays an important role in helping to prevent bone loss. As the EU population continues to age, the occurrence of osteoporosis becomes an increasing source of worry. But the good news is that osteoporosis can be prevented and treated. The European Commission is involved in research studying the impact of diet and gene-nutrient interactions on calcium and bone metabolism, and a novel isotopic tracer method is also being evaluated to study and quantify these processes. This new method will be compared to already-established methods (bone mineral density, biochemical markers) in an effort to protect and improve the quality of life of Europe’s ageing population. Further research on the biomechanical aspects of bone structure and strength, and on the reliability and safety of prosthetic implants is also being carried out at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) to address the area of post-fracture treatment strategies. These projects are funded by the European Commission’s Directorates General for Research, Health and Consumer Protection, and the JRC.
Commissioner Philippe Busquin expresses his own concern: “Fractures are the most frequent and serious complication of osteoporosis. Any bone can be affected, but of special concern are fractures of the hip and spine. A hip fracture almost always requires hospitalisation and major surgery. It can impair a persons ability to walk unassisted and may cause prolonged or permanent disability and reduce the quality of life. Hospital costs for hip fractures alone amounted to over 3,500 million Euro in the EU in 1999. And the problem will only increase, as it has been quoted that the proportion of the EU population aged over 80 will triple over the next 50 years. EU action is therefore essential to tackle this problem.”
Menopause is the single greatest risk for osteoporosis; others include gender, age, family history, hormone deficiencies, low calcium, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, and cigarette smoking. In many cases, bones weaken when levels of calcium, phosphorous and other minerals in bones are low. As the prevalence of osteoporosis increases it must be considered as a serious public health concern.
Catherine Shiels | European Commission
World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy