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Columbia University uses technological innovation to study bone structure
Date:1/15/2011

women due to the plate-like structure of their bone, which offers mechanical advantages over the rod-like structure found in the bones of Caucasian women," Dr. Guo explained. "If you look at a building made of walls, you can see that it is much stronger than a building made only of columns. Columbia Engineering's ITS is the only established technique that can distinguish plate vs. rod and it clearly revealed in this study the striking magnitude of the differences between the bone structure of the Chinese-American and Caucasian women."

Drs. Bilezikian and Marcella Walker led the clinical aspect of the study and quantified the microstructures in the distal radius and the tibia. "These are the two areas that the instrument can measure," Dr. Bilezikian said. "But we believe the data that come from these sites can be applied to other sites such as the hip."

Dr. Liu, who earned her PhD on ITS development in Dr. Guo's Bone Bioengineering Laboratory, noted that the most important factor when determining bone strength is the ratio of plate to rod in trabecular bone. "We found the plate to rod ratio of trabecular bone in Chinese-American women was twice that of Caucasian women (0.62 vs. 0.30). We also found the number of trabecular plates was significantly higher in Chinese-American women when compared to Caucasian women, indicating that Chinese-American women have much stronger trabecular bone than Caucasian women." Liu is currently an associate research scientist with Dr. Bilezikian in Columbia University Medical Center's Endocrinology Division.

Dr. Liu continued, "The size of the individual trabecular plates was significantly larger in the Chinese-American women versus the Caucasian women. Trabecular plates were 9% and 4% greater in thickness and 11% greater in surface area at the distal radius and tibia." The researchers also found that Chinese-American women had better cortical bone quality than Caucasian women. The study has not yet explored
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Contact: Holly Evarts
holly@engineering.columbia.edu
347-453-7408
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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