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
New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University
Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
21.11.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
23.11.2017 | Earth Sciences
23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.11.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering