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|2012-05-30 - Weird News|
Urine test eyed as better, safer method to detect osteoporosis
-- Windsor Genova - Fourth Estate Cooperative News Writer
Phoenix, AZ, United States (4E) - Bone loss detection through urine test instead of X-ray promises to be a better and safer method of diagnosing osteoporosis, according to American scientists who developed the new technique.
Scientists from NASA and Arizona State University (ASU) described the technique in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal. Prof. Ariel Anbar of ASU's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the School of Earth and Space Exploration said calcium isotopes in the urine are measured to determine bone mineral balance or imbalance using ultra-sensitive mass spectrometry.
The NASA-funded method was tested on volunteers who were instructed to bed rest for as much as 30 days straight. As bones deteriorate when not in use, urine samples from the volunteers showed signs of bone loss in the first week of the experiment.
Anbar said X-ray can only detect bone density loss when damage already occurred aside from exposing patients to radiation.
Jennifer Morgan, co-author of the study published in the PNAS and developer of the mass spectrometry method, explained that the technique simply detects if the amount of bone in the body is increasing or decreasing.
The scientists will next test the method on patients with cancer and bone diseases.
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