As we age, every stumble or fall comes with a risk—a risk that is even greater for those 10 million people in the U.S. who have osteoporosis, a skeletal disease characterized by low bone mass, poor bone quality, and fractures. Each year, 1.5 million bone fractures are attributed to osteoporosis, including 350,000 hip fractures. But hip or other fractures in older and osteoporotic patients do not heal easily, and this often leads to significant impairments in daily life — even death.
Roland Baron — professor and chair of the Department of Oral Medicine, Infection, and Immunity at Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM), Division of Bone and Mineral Research, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) — and his research team collaborated with the research team of Dr. Superti-Furga, professor of pediatrics at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, to study cortical bone fragility. Cortical bone is the hard outer layer of bone that becomes more susceptible to fracture in people with osteoporosis. Their findings, recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine in the article Cortical-Bone Fragility — Insights from sFRP4 Deficiency in Pyle’s Disease, may shed light on the causes of and potential treatment for cortical-bone fragility.