Osteoporosis treatment also may protect against pneumonia
A recent study found that nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates (N-BPs), which are used widely to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis, are linked with lower risks of pneumonia and of dying from pneumonia. The results were published June 2, 2020, in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. The study included 4,041 patients with hip fractures who received N-BPs and 11,802 who did not. Over a median follow-up time of 2.7 years, N-BPs were associated with a 24% lower risk of pneumonia compared with no treatment (69 vs. 90 cases per 1,000 people per year). A similar association was observed with pneumonia mortality, with a 35% lower risk associated with N-BPs (23 vs. 35 per 1,000 patients per year for the N-BP and non-N-BP groups, respectively). Results from previous animal studies indicated that N-BP treatment leads to a high concentration of N-BPs in the respiratory tract. The researchers also said studying the potential of N-BPs for treating symptoms of COVID-19 may be warranted.
Study finds similar short-term outcomes after common MI spine procedures
A study comparing short-term outcomes of minimally invasive (MI) lumbar decompression surgery to MI lumbar spine fusion surgery found no statistically significant difference in the amount of time patients needed to return to work. Researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City also found that patients in both groups were able to discontinue narcotic pain medication within one week following surgery. Patients in the MI lumbar decompression group resumed driving four days sooner than those in the MI spine fusion group. The findings are especially noteworthy, according to Sheeraz Qureshi, HSS spine surgeon and the study's senior investigator, because a standard open spinal fusion generally entails a much longer recovery and slower return to activities than a standard lumbar decompression. This study is available online as part of the AAOS 2020 Virtual Education Experience. "Our study is the first of its kind to look at return to activities and discontinuation of narcotic pain medication after single-level lumbar decompression or single-level lumbar spine fusion performed with a minimally invasive technique," said Qureshi. "In our study, all the patients in both groups were able to resume driving and return to work within three weeks of surgery. When you compare this time frame to that of standard open spinal fusion surgery, it's really striking. Patients having a standard spinal fusion could take six months or longer for a full recovery." The study included patients who had elective one-level MI lumbar decompression or one-level MI lumbar spine fusion between April 2017 and July 2019 by a single orthopedic surgeon at HSS. Patients included in the analysis were driving or working before surgery or were administered narcotic pain medication postoperatively. Investigators found that it took the 117 decompression patients a median of three days to discontinue narcotic pain medication, while it took a median of seven days for the 51 spinal fusion patients to do so. With respect to driving, the analysis included the number of patients who were driving pre-operatively and returned to driving after surgery. It took 88 decompression patients a median of 14 days to resume driving, while the 45 fusion patients took 18 days.
New biomaterial has potential to repair damaged bone with lower risk of inflammation
Scientists at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences have developed a new biomaterial that has the potential to accelerate bone regeneration by promoting an immune response that encourages repair and lowers the risk of inflammation. The study, conducted by researchers at RCSI Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) and AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research, was published in the June issue of Acta Biomaterialia. The researchers have developed a technology that is a combination of nanoparticles and a collagen-based biomaterial called a scaffold, specifically designed by RCSI TERG, that can be surgically implanted to aid bone tissue repair. The material allows for the delivery of a microRNA silencer, a molecule capable of influencing the way our cells function. In laboratory conditions, researchers successfully demonstrated that damaged bone tissue is restored as the particular microRNA delivered by the biomaterial works to increase cells responsible for bone repair. The technology also assists in promoting a prorepair immune system response, lowering the risk of inflammation and other complications.
Diabetics face greater risk of bone fractures
People living with diabetes face a greater risk of bone fractures, new research led by the University of Sheffield has found. The research, which appeared in Bone, was conducted in collaboration with scientists from Sutter Health and concluded that people with type 1 or 2 diabetes have an increased risk of suffering hip and non-vertebral fractures (those not occurring in the spine or skull). The findings, revealed during Diabetes Awareness Week, show that people with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk than people with type 2 diabetes; however, insulin use and the length of time someone has lived with the condition further increased the risk for people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes has several widely known complications; however, this study highlights the impact of the condition on bone health – fractures in particular. "Fractures can be very serious, especially in older people. Hip fractures are the most severe, as they cause such high disability. Around 76,000 people in the U.K. suffer a hip fracture every year, and it is thought as many as 20% of people will die within a year of the fracture. Many others don't fully regain mobility, and for many people it can cause a loss of independence,” said lead researcher Tatiane Vilaca, from the University of Sheffield's Mellanby Centre for Bone Research.