Professor Belinda Beck from Menzies Health Institute Queensland standing on the vibration platform used in the Vibmor trial
The VIBMOR trial assesses the individual and combined strategies of whole-body vibration and weight- bearing exercises to see which is most effective in improving bone mass and reducing the likelihood of bone fractures in women with osteoporosis.
“Results of the trial are looking positive,” said Professor Belinda Beck from Menzies Health Institute Queensland.
“However, to date we have only about 200 participants, but we need about double that to be sure our conclusions are definitive.”
She said, in Australia one in two women over 60 will suffer an osteoporotic fracture and in post-menopausal women osteoporosis accounts for more days in hospital than any other disease.
“We know that targeted exercises such as lifting weights can be effective, the catch is it must be of such high intensity that supervision is required due to the risk of fracture, the exact thing we’re trying to prevent.
“Mild whole body vibration on the other hand can be done unsupervised, at home, which is a lot more convenient therapy for people with osteoporosis.
“Animal studies have shown that relatively short periods of vibration can improve bone mass. We’re hoping to verify that this is also the case in humans as, despite some promising findings, previous studies haven’t been large enough to be conclusive.”
The large scale VIBMOR trial is aiming to recruit around 430 women who are at least five years post menopause. The women will be randomly allocated to groups asked to perform either a short duration of vibration (5 times/week), exercise (twice/week), or a combination of both.
A participant in the trial, Barbara, happy at the bone density results following the trial
“We are looking for women who are aged 60 or older, and not over 125 kg who may have low bone mass,” Professor Beck said.
“Participants will benefit by receiving a series of free bone, muscle and fat scans, with a full interpretation of the results, and a free estimate of daily calcium consumption and vitamin D status, all valuing about $1000.
“It is important to discover alternative therapies to medications to treat osteoporosis, and currently vibration and exercise are the two most promising,” Professor Beck said.
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