Got Bones? » May 2006

May 24, 2006

Your Jaw Bone in a Bucket

In the past month the osteoporosis drug Fosamax has been in the news due to lawsuits that allege it can cause osteonecrosis of the jaw. Fosamax is a bisphosphonate drug. Other drugs in this class include Boniva and Actonel, among others. Over 30 million women were given prescriptions for Fosamax last year. Since the story first came out I've been researching the subject and am working on a long post on this topic but for now here's a story about one woman who is suing Merck over Fosamax.

Raisor was told her jaw bone was going to end up in a bucket. "They took some out, took some out, kept taking more out," Raisor said.

They tried to save what they could. They used a metal plate for reinforcement.

It didn't work. (

Posted by Tracy at 6:45 PM | Comments (5)

May 10, 2006

Beer Is Good for Your Bones

Beer lovers, take note! Researchers have discovered that drinking a pint of beer a day may prevent osteoporosis. Apparently it is the ethanol in the beer that inhibits weakening of the bones. Even more amazing is that ethanol may be more effective than calcium at preventing bone loss.

Professor Jonathan Powell, who led the study, said: "This is a very interesting finding. Everyone knows that calcium inhibits bone loss but we found that the ethanol in beer has the same, if not better, effect." (Daily Mail)

This isn't the first time beer has been noted for its bone-building properties. In 2004, a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that high silicon intake, which is found in high levels in beer, has a positive effect on bone density in men and pre-menopausal women. (article)

So does this mean that women in countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic, where beer is a staple, have stronger bones? I'd like to research the rates of osteoporosis in the United States vs. heavy beer-drinking countries. There have been studies that show that heavy intake of meat and dairy products is linked to weaker bones (more on that controversial issue in a future post) so perhaps heavy animal protein intake in certain Northern European and Eastern European countries takes away somewhat from the positive benefits of beer consumption.

I think the research is mounting that Plato was right when he said: "He was a wise man who invented beer."

Posted by Tracy at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 2, 2006

Interview with Joan Rivers on Osteoporosis

Joan RiversPriority Publications has provided this interview with Joan Rivers to the media. Rivers speaks about her diagnosis of osteoporosis and how she's taking measures to counteract it. I wish she'd specified which dietary supplements she's taking, but it's great that she is apparently trying to go a natural route.

Comedienne Joan Rivers Gets Serious About Osteoporosis

These days, when comedienne Joan Rivers utters her trademark phrase, “Can we talk?” she is more likely to follow it up with a discussion of osteoporosis than a set of one-liners. Osteoporosis is no laughing matter to Rivers, who was diagnosed with the brittle bone disease in 2002. Fighting back against her weakened bones hasn’t been easy, but Rivers has seen success: The comic says she’s been able to reverse the progress of her bone loss through exercise, diet and supplements. And now, as an ambassador for the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Rivers is using her legendary gift of gab to share her story and raise awareness about the disease.

Priority Publications: Osteoporosis is known as a silent disease, because people often don’t show outward symptoms. How did you find out you had it?

Joan Rivers: I go for checkups every now and again and I never thought of getting a bone density test. But I went in for a complete workup and they discovered it. The doctor called me up and painted a picture that was so upsetting. He said, “You’re going to fall down and you’ll fall down because your bone breaks, not because you trip.” I was so upset, so right away I went to an osteoporosis specialist.

PP: How serious was your bone loss when you had that first bone density test?

JR: I don’t know specifically, but it was starting to take off. I was 64 at the time and it shocked and surprised me because I’m a very healthy person and I had no idea that was happening. But, you know, one woman in two and one man in four are at risk.

PP: What’s a typical day’s regimen for you now?

JR: Well, I’m a New Yorker, so I walk everywhere. And if there is a choice between stairs and the elevator, I’ll take the stairs. Weight bearing exercises – I go to the gym three times a week. And I take dietary supplements. You know, when I went back six months [after my initial diagnosis] the doctor saw a reversal of the symptoms. This is one of the things I want to get out: Not only can osteoporosis be slowed down or stopped, it can be reversed. Now, how many other diseases can be reversed?

PP: What is your advice to women – and men – who may be at risk?

JR: First of all, get a bone density test. It doesn’t hurt so you can be as big of a sissy as you want to be. And, second of all, get yourself moving! I have a back stairs and a front stairs in my home and very often I will go down one and then walk up the other just to go to another room.

PP: Have you found it hard to keep your sense of humor while facing this threat to your health?

JR: Oh no, not at all. I do jokes about it now, like: “My bones click so much that dolphins try to pick up on me.”

Posted by Tracy at 1:56 PM | Comments (11)

Dem Bones, Dem Bones

Since May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month and because bone health has been so much in the news lately due to controversy over osteoporosis drugs such as Fosamax and other bisphosphonate drugs, it seemed like the perfect time to launch something we've been planning for a while: a blog dedicated to posting everything about bone health. We'll post news, opinions, articles, stories, and more.

Laura of Is it Hot in Here? joins me as a contributor to this blog. We invite everyone to participate by posting comments, sending us personal stories, and pointing us to news stories you feel are relevant.

Posted by Tracy at 2:13 AM | Comments (0)

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