Why the skeleton starts to fail us as we age

Why the skeleton starts to fail us as we age and what drugs of the future will do to build and maintain our bones, will be discussed at a free public lecture at the University of Melbourne tomorrow (August 10).

The University’s 22nd Mathison lecture – Bone fragility: how to be a lever and a spring for soap suds in a wheel world – will be presented by Professor Ego Seeman from the Department of Medicine and Endocrinology and Austin Health.

Professor Seeman says, “The material properties and architectural design of bone are masterpieces of evolution. It is both a lever and a spring, stronger yet lighter than granite and concrete, it facilitates weight-bearing yet speed so that we can catch dinner and avoid becoming it.”

Professor Seeman will discuss the unique material and structural properties of bone that give it its strength and flexibility and its amazing ability to reconstruct following injury or damage.

“These features, so slowly selected for during evolution, so faithfully reproduced during ontogenesis, and fully expressed at the completion of linear growth, work so well – for a while,” he says.

When we age the natural bone modelling and remodelling mechanisms involved in reconstructing the skeleton fail to maintain the bone’s material and structural properties.

Professor Seeman will discuss the material and structural properties of bone and three major cell types involved in the construction, maintenance and reconstruction of these materials and structures throughout life.

He says this knowledge will aid in understanding how to protect the skeleton from breakdown in aging.

“Drugs of the future could stop bone breakdown and facilitate the reconstruction of the skeleton, reducing fracture risk and sustaining the ageless Olympian spirit of youth for just a little longer.”

WHAT: Bone fragility – how to be a lever and a spring for soap suds in a wheel world.

WHEN: 6-7PM Tuesday, 10 August

WHERE: Sunderland Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor, Medical Building (corner of Grattan Street and Royal Parade), The University of Melbourne (Melways Ref: Map 2B, C8).

For general information about the lecture and parking, please contact Gael Bidgood on 03 8344 9800 or e-mail [email protected]

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