Healthy Living

Aug 3, 2010 3:29 PM by Carina Corral

UCSB professor finds way to measure bone strength

A UCSB professor invents a new medical tool that can measure a bone's strength.

It is called the Reference Point Indentation, or RPI, instrument.

A test probe is driven into the bone creating microscopic fractures.

This process is repeated and the microfractures are measured to determine bone quality.

"The properties of bone materials are an important part of fracture risk," said Paul Hansma. "In normal, everyday life, you wonder about whether something is going to break or not. It depends. How big is it? How thick is it? Is it made of balsa wood, or walnut? In the field of bone fracture risk, there has not been any instrument that can measure the material properties of bone relative to fracture risk, so it's been ignored."

The theory is: if you can measure how easily a bone can be fractured, it can lead to preventable therapies.

Click here to read more about Hansma's research.

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