Welcome to our first issue in 2011. May this be a banner year for you and your bone building efforts.

First, to all those waiting for the yoga pages to go on line. After months of searching for scientific studies related to yoga and bone health, I finally decided to publish what I had...knowing I can always add more later. Now I know that most people in the US and Canada mean 'hatha yoga' when they say 'yoga' but I have taken a more technical approach and included several of the forms of yoga on the introductory pages. If interested, just use the site SEARCH box for Yoga.

And yes, Pilates is now under research so it will get on the site also..

Second, do review your exercise program at the beginning of each new year. Remember that your bone building cells only respond to NEW stresses so if you have been doing same exercises, at the same weights for several months you may want to consider some changes - at least for a few months.

1. Weight lifting - you can increase the weights you use....and go s-l-o-w-e-r as you lift. You can change to something different eg. try tap dancing, Irish step dancing, square dancing, polka. A few years ago we reviewed the study that showed jumping jacks..were effective (Do check with your health care provider if you have Osteoporosic hips before you do jumping jacks).

2. Use a weight vest. I have always used a weight vest in winter - mostly because I am terrified of falling on the ice and want something I for inside the house. I put the vest on in the morning and wear it most of the day. Up until now the one draw back has been that the vest I used was a Sports vest and so I had to add 2 half pound weights each time I upped the weight. This meant I reached my 5 or 6 pound limit pretty fast (heavier weight could cause me to tip over if I turned an ankle and I will not risk a fall - especially at 6ft tall.)

But this past winter I got one of the hyper vests (mentioned a few months ago) and that allows me to add weights of 2 oz at a time. So adding only 4 oz (two on either side for good balance) means that this year I will be adding weight for much longer period of time. Delighted!

Third. Pharmaceutical update: Merck is now facing lawsuits from those who have had sudden femoral fractures after long term use of Fosamax. One of the things I have wondered is whether it is Fosamax in particular that is the problem or whether these problems are showing with this drug BECAUSE IT IS THE BISPHOSPHONATE that has been in existence the longest. Remember that ALL bisphosphonates get greater bone density by slowing the removal of 'old bone' that our bodies would normally remove.

Suggestion: If you are on medication, check the web site to see of the pills or infusion you are taking is a bisphosphonate. If it is consider talking with your health care professional about how long you are taking it. (You know I do not give specific medical advice but there have been some guidelines published about how long seems 'safe'.)

Fourth. One of the neat things about my having faculty status is access to some studies that I would otherwise not see. I know that many readers are interested in vitamins. Here is an excerpt from a recent study:

Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife and BIDMC Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

In part: "....Diet is an important modifiable risk factor for the prevention of osteoporosis. Over the years, vitamin D has garnered significant attention for its role in preventing bone loss and reducing fractures. . .. However, emerging research suggests that vitamins other than vitamin D also play an important role in skeletal health. For example, vitamin B12 stimulates osteoblast activity and bone formation ; vitamin C is an essential cofactor for collagen formation and normal bone development ; and vitamin K is essential for carboxylation and activation of bone proteins . On the other hand, too much vitamin A may have a negative impact upon bone...."

Some of this information has been on the web site for awhile eg. Vitamin A. Over the next months I shall update the research studies cited on these issues.

Finally, on interesting development of the last few months! I found a professional society from China that will be publishing scientific studies about TCM and Osteopenia, Osteoporosis. It is the INTERNATIONAL CHINESE HARD TISSUE SOCIETY. I am looking forward to reading their publications for new ideas - or at least some that are new to us who live outside China. .

'Til next month. Be well.


P.S. Laugh every day - EVERY day. Do not go to bed without laughing. You do not need something to laugh at....just laugh. You will feel better and it is good for your health.