Imaging Technology Illuminates New Dimensions to Osteoporosis
Sometimes called the “silent thief” for its lack of symptoms, osteoporosis causes bone tissue to deteriorate and break, and affects as many as two million Canadians. In the most affected group—women over 50—more than one in four has osteoporosis.
Most research into osteoporosis has focused on bone density. However, Dr. David Cooper, Canada Research Chair in Synchrotron Bone Imaging, is using 3-D imaging technology to study the microscopic architecture of bones. To accomplish this, he is combining micro-CT scanning technology with synchrotron X-ray technology.
This combination of technologies results in high-resolution, 3-D images of bone structures, allowing medical researchers to learn more about how bone remodelling is related to osteoporosis and bone aging. Bone remodelling is a naturally occurring process in which new bone tissue replaces mature bone tissue.
Cooper focuses his research on osteons, the cylindrical structures that make up compact bone and play a central role in both bone remodelling and disease. His research provides, for the first time in Canada, a non-invasive way to view these important microstructures in three dimensions, which is not possible with conventional imaging technologies.
This research will ultimately help find new ways to combat osteoporosis and bone aging in Canadians.