Less Information About How Bone Formation Is Impaired

Osteoporosis itself has no symptoms; its main consequence is the increased risk of bone fractures. Osteoporotic fractures are those that occur in situations where healthy people would not normally break a bone; they are therefore regarded as fragility fractures. Typical fragility fractures occur in the vertebral column, rib, hip and wrist.
 
Fractures are the most dangerous aspect of osteoporosis. Debilitating acute and chronic pain in the elderly is often attributed to fractures from osteoporosis and can lead to further disability and early mortality. The fractures from osteoporosis may also be asymptomatic. The symptoms of a vertebral collapse ("compression fracture") are sudden back pain, often with radiculopathic pain (shooting pain due to nerve root compression) and rarely with spinal cord compression or cauda equina syndrome. Multiple vertebral fractures lead to a stooped posture, loss of height, and chronic pain with resultant reduction in mobility.
 
Fractures of the long bones acutely impair mobility and may require surgery. Hip fracture, in particular, usually requires prompt surgery, as there are serious risks associated with a hip fracture, such as deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism, and increased mortality.
 
Fracture Risk Calculators assess the risk of fracture based upon several criteria, including BMD, age, smoking, alcohol usage, weight, and gender. Recognised calculators include FRAX and Dubbo.
 
Osteoporosis and periodontitis are common diseases whose sufferers must cope with weakness, injury and reduced function as they lose bone more quickly than it is formed. While the mechanism of bone destruction in these diseases is understood, scientists have had less information about how bone formation is impaired. 
 
Now, researchers at the UCLA School of Dentistry, working with scientists at the University of Michigan and the University of California, San Diego, have identified a potential new focus of treatments for osteoporosis, periodontitis and similar diseases. 
 
In a paper published May 17 in the online edition of the journal Nature Medicine, Cun-Yu Wang, who holds UCLA's No-Hee Park Endowed Chair in the dental school's division of oral biology and medicine, and colleagues suggest that inhibiting nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB), a master protein that controls genes associated with inflammation and immunity, can prevent disabling bone loss by maintaining bone formation. 
 
The findings could offer new hope to millions who struggle with osteoporosis and periodontitis each year. The National Institutes of Health estimates that in the United States alone, more than 10 million people have osteoporosis, and many more have low bone mass, putting them at risk for the disease, as well as for broken bones. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, mild to moderate periodontitis affects a majority of adults, with between 5 and 20 percent of the population suffering from a more severe stage of the disease. 
 
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