Department of Biomedical Engineering
Bone Loss and Delayed Fracture Healing
In the United States, osteoporosis (“porous bone disease”) will affect 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over a lifetime. Several factors lead to having holes in what should be solid bone: menopause, advanced age, general lack of exercise (being a “couch potato”), lack of use of specific bones (for example, leg bones after long bedrest due to physical illness or injury), long-term steroid use, and any combinations of these causes. Osteoporosis describes a loss of bone tissue, lessening the skeleton’s ability to function, to the extent that “fragility fractures” can occur even while a person is going about normal daily activities; such fractures put the skeleton at risk of even more severe fractures or breaks. To complicate matters for osteoporosis patients, any fractures typically take much longer to properly heal than in age-matched individuals without osteoporosis. Fortunately, several drug and device treatments exist to lessen the bone loss associated with osteoporosis, though only a few of them will actually reverse a state of advanced bone loss and allow the skeleton to function as when the person was younger. We are still trying to understand all the effects of these treatments on the process of bone healing. In our laboratory research program, we are actively studying how (and to what extent) these treatments might reverse bone loss and improve delayed bone healing. Our goal is to rigorously compare how well existing treatments work and find ways to improve fracture healing in our model systems. Our future research goals are to apply our increasing knowledge to patients to develop novel treatments that will prevent osteoporotic fractures by building strong new bone tissue, as well as promote better healing of such fractures.
Summary: The Midura laboratory studies the causes and prevention of osteoporosis and seeks to improve the delayed fracture healing responses associated with osteoporosis.
See also: Midura Lab