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Bone Loss

April 27, 2009

Age-related bone loss is hard to stop once it starts.


Boning up on bone loss…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Listener Frances Ruth Harris of Kew Gardens, New York wrote in to ask why bone loss can’t be stopped once it starts. We talked to Bernard Halloran, a senior scientist at the Lab for Human Aging and Bone Biology at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco. He says bone loss starts earlier than you might think.

BERNARD HALLORAN (UCSF/Veterans Affairs Medical Center):
Beginning around age 25 or 30, all of us – men and women – begin to lose bone. And it’s sort of a downhill run for the rest of our lives.

Halloran says scientists don’t yet understand the process of age-related bone loss well enough to prevent it. He says current drugs for osteoporosis help stop bone from being torn down and resorbed into the body, but they can’t yet restore bone tissue that’s already gone. If you’ve got a science question, call us at 1-800-WHY-ISIT. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.