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Preliminary work on the development of a novel detection method for osteoporosis.

Moran, P. and Towler, M. R. and Chowdhury, S. and Saunders, J. and German, Matthew J. and Lawson, N. Stuart and Pollock, Hubert M. and Pillay, I. and Lyons, D. (2007) Preliminary work on the development of a novel detection method for osteoporosis. Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine, 18 (6). pp. 969-974. ISSN 0957-4530

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Osteoporosis affects both the organic and mineral phases of bone resulting in a decrease in resistance to fracture. Dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans are used for diagnosing osteoporosis, which is conventionally characterised by a decrease in mineral density. Unfortunately, some patients who suffer osteoporotic fractures have normal bone density, because both the organic and the mineral phase are affected. However, there are currently no methods of evaluating the health of the organic phase. Patients undergoing treatment for osteoporosis have reported hardening of their fingernails. As the properties of nail and bone may be linked in a comparable, measurable way, this work used both mechanical (nano-indentation) and chemical (Raman spectroscopy) methods to evaluate differences between fingernails sourced from osteoporotic and non-osteoporotic patients. The difference in mean modulus between the nails sourced from the groups was 1.1 GPa. The disulphide bond content of fingernail samples from each group was measured by Raman spectroscopy and disulphide bond content of fingernail was found to be significantly lower in the osteoporotic group. It can be concluded that a relationship between the mechanical and chemical properties of nail and bone may exist in a measurable way. This work has suggested that changes in the organic phase of bone are reflected in similar proteins, such as keratin, from which fingernails are composed. Collagen and keratin are two distinct structural proteins, but they share the need for protein sulphation and disulphide bond formation, via cysteine, for their structural integrity. A disorder of either process should lead to disordered collagen and keratin synthesis.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
Departments: Faculty of Health and Medicine > Health Research
Faculty of Science and Technology > Physics
ID Code: 18633
Deposited By: ep_ss_importer
Deposited On: 31 Oct 2008 08:54
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2017 03:01
Identification Number:

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