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The Bone Test That Could Save Your Life

zongxujian 于2007-06-12发布 l 已有人浏览
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Because osteoporosis often causes no symptoms at all until a fall snaps a bone, the only way to tell if you have it is via a bone mineral density test. This procedure is advised for anyone over 50 who has suffered a fracture and all women over 65. Right now, the test involves lying on your back while the arm of a special X-ray device moves over your body to measure the thickness of various bones.

CyberLogic, a New York R&D firm, has developed a simpler device that's nine inches high, runs on four AA batteries and scans bones with ultrasound. If the portable machine proves as reliable as X-rays, it could be a breakthrough, says New York osteoporosis expert Dr. Ethel Siris. "A small device like this could make bone checkups part of a routine office visit, because it's both affordable and user-friendly."

If testing shows that you have osteoporosis, some major advances in treatment can help. While there are several effective medications on the market, including Fosamax, Actonel, Evista, Miacalcin and Forteo, the latest wonder drug is Boniva, the first once-a-month pill for osteoporosis. The FDA recently approved this drug, which works by reducing activity in cells responsible for bone breakdown.

Should osteoporosis get severe enough to collapse a vertebra, doctors have a new way to make repairs: Two tiny balloons are inserted into the bone through surgical tubes. The balloons are inflated to push the bone back into its normal position, then bone cement is used to keep it from collapsing again.

For more information, see www.balloonsforbones.com.

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