Osteoporosis is currently diagnosed with the help of X-ray bone-density testing, but that often happens after a patient suffers a fracture, well after the disease has already been developing. A new device originally created at University of California, Santa Barbara and further developed at University of Southampton, UK may allow for earlier testing that is more indicative of the actual progression of the disease.
The device works by pushing a tiny needle into a bone and measuring how far it’s able to penetrate the tissue. A give of 20 micrometers (0.02 mm) seems to indicate healthy bone tissue, while a reading of 40 micrometers points more to osteoporosis. The University of Southampton is currently enrolling patients who’ve had a hip replacement to take part in the Observational Study Examining Osteoporosis (OStEO) that’s evaluating the effectiveness of the handheld device in helping to diagnose the disease.
University of Southampton: Portable, Low-Cost Early-Warning Test for Osteoporosis