Ann Conkle
Mar 8, 2012

A new method for more accurate assessment of osteoporosis

Laser-based measurements are proving to be a promising method for the assessment of osteoporosis. A research team has developed an ultrasound technique that uses laser beams for a rapid and accurate assessment of osteoporosis. Fractures caused by osteoporosis signify a considerable public health problem, but the current X-ray methods measure bone density alone and, thus, cannot reliably predict future fractures. The new technique being developed for the purposes of assessing osteoporosis deploys a laser-based photo-acoustic methods for producing ultrasound, the first time this has been done in bone. “We direct a suitable laser beam at the surface of the skin to produce an ultrasound pulse that will propagate along the bone. This prevents contact problems during the measurement process. Furthermore, the ultrasound pulse can be easily tailored by adjusting the laser beam. This enables us to achieve a much more accurate measurement,” says Professor Timonen from the University of Jyväskylä, the leader of the research team.