Jab to Prevent Osteoporosis
New injection could prevent bone disease
By: David Derbyshire
Millions of women could benefit from a new injection to prevent brittle bone disease, scientists say.
In tests, fortnightly injections of thyroid-stimulating hormone stopped bones from deteriorating and improved their strength.
Researchers who made the discovery say the treatment could help post-menopausal women who are most at risk of osteoporosis.
It could also offer a safer alternative to hormone replacement therapy – which prevents brittle bones but increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
Osteoporosis charities welcomed the study, which was carried out on rats, but stressed that a treatment for humans was many years away.
The study, by a team at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the U.S., tested the effects of thyroid-stimulating hormone on bones. The hormone was injected every two weeks into female rats whose ovaries were removed to mimic the conditions that cause osteoporosis, the researchers said.
One in two women over the age of 50, and one in five men, suffers from osteoporosis. The disease causes around 200,000 fractures each year.
Women are at risk during the menopause, when the body stops producing the female sex hormone estrogen, which plays a key role in maintaining healthy bones.