At the end of a 3-year study, participant’s thighbones that received either a low dose of load or no load had a density that was almost 40 percent lower than thighbones that received a high dose of load
Loss of bone density leads to brittle bones that fracture easily. It is a major complication of spinal cord injury (SCI), which affects about 250,000 Americans every year.
A new clinical trial conducted by University of Iowa researchers shows that delivering high doses of “load,” or stress, to bone through programmed electrical stimulation of the muscle significantly slows the loss of bone density in patients with SCI.
The focus on quantifying the effective dose of load is one of the study’s most important aspects, says Richard Shields, P.T., Ph.D., a professor and director of the UI Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science Graduate Programs. The study also is the first to carefully test the impact of different doses of load in humans with paralysis.
Previous research had suggested that stressing or loading bone through muscle contractions could slow the loss of bone density, but results from clinical trials have been mixed. Continue reading