Saha Receives Four-year, $1.46 Million NIH Grant for Bone Quality Research

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

University of Iowa News Release


Punam Saha, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering, has received a four-year, $1,460,984 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop an advanced technology for bone assessment that may help physicians better diagnose osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

The grant involves developing a tool to assess the quality of trabecular bone, which adapts to stress and is often found in the vertebrae, radius and other sites in the human body where osteoporosis occurs. Currently, CT and MRI images of trabecular bone provide insufficient resolution, resulting in fuzzy images.

The central idea of the project is that a new index called the tensor scale -- which simultaneously measures shape, size and orientation -- will be very sensitive in detecting remodeling effects of the bone.

Saha, who also holds a joint appointment in radiology, said that the technology developed in the project will help physicians to diagnose patients at early stages of osteoporosis, monitor their disease status and observe the effects of therapeutic treatments.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that osteoporosis and low bone mass affect 44 million Americans.