NATIONAL CONSUMER MEDIA RELEASE
EMBARGOED: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2022
Celebrating 21 years of protecting Aussie bones & announcing the latest innovation in fracture prediction
To mark its 21st anniversary of pioneering bone health in Australia today (Thursday, October 13), Healthy Bones Australia has announced its strategic partnership with CurveBeam AI Limited to develop a revolutionary diagnostic fracture prediction tool.
Since its inception, the not-for-profit organisation has been championing community and health professional awareness and understanding of the importance of identifying, diagnosing and treating osteoporosis.
According to Healthy Bones Australia Chairman, Professor Peter Ebeling AO, Melbourne, the organisation is proud of its outstanding achievements to date, and is looking forward to kicking many more goals in the future.
“Over the past 21 years, Healthy Bones Australia has advanced the importance of protecting our ageing Australian population’s bones. During this time, we’ve witnessed substantial change in the healthcare system’s focus on the detection and treatment of osteoporosis, and community and government understanding of the importance of maintaining healthy bones.
“As recently as 20 years ago, bone health was a largely overlooked, and untreated area. It is now recognised as an important chronic disease, and a health priority area for Australia,” said Prof Ebeling.
“Importantly however, we recognise there is much more to be done. Within the next five years, our focus is to:
establish a Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) in every capital city of Australia;
deliver comprehensive and updated guidelines for GPs, who work at the frontline of osteoporosis management;
drive half a million Australians aged 50+ to undertake our Know Your Bones online self-assessment (currently sitting at almost 100,000 assessments;
advocate for broader patient access to osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment; and
support new and innovative osteoporosis diagnostic opportunities.
“In this regard, I am delighted to announce today, that we are on our way to fulfilling one of our goals, by partnering with the Australian company, CurveBeam AI, in the validation of a new diagnostic tool for osteoporosis, following a decade of research. The new tool, OssView™, is a compact, high-resolution CT scanner combined with a new bone fragility software that generates an ‘SFS score’ (Structural Fragility Score),” Prof Ebeling said.
“This new bone diagnostic approach examines the support structure of the bone (bone micro-architecture), not only its density. An OssView™ result, used with Bone Mineral Density (BMD) testing, is expected to greatly assist GPs and Specialists with identifying patients who are at high-risk of fracture, and yet may only have low, or normal bone density on conventional BMD testing.
“On its own, because of its size and ease of mobility, the OssView™ test will also help to improve access for elderly people in remote, rural or nursing home settings, to better inform them, and their doctors, of their fracture risk, to help target treatment to prevent fragility fractures,” said Prof Ebeling.
Given the rising prevalence of osteoporosis in Australia, the pilot study involving this new diagnostic tool could herald ground-breaking results in the early detection of osteoporosis. Research reveals more than 4.74 million Australians over 50 years of age (approximately two-thirds of those aged 50+) are living with poor bone health.1
This year (2022), a fracture is occurring every 2.9 minutes,1 resulting in 501 fractures per day, 3,521 fractures per week, and 183,105 fractures per year.1 Moreover, the projected total cost of poor bone health among Australians aged 50+ years this year is an estimated AUD 3.84 billion.1
“Early diagnosis of osteoporosis is crucial to reducing fracture rates, and their subsequent impacts and costs,” said CEO of Healthy Bones Australia, Greg Lyubomirsky, Sydney.
“We need to focus on prevention, which means understanding risk factors for poor bone health, early diagnosis, and appropriate and prompt treatment.
“This new diagnostic tool, used with BMD testing, can assist Healthy Bones Australia’s ongoing work in generating awareness of the importance of bone health, to ensure all Australians are better protected against sustaining fractures in the future,” Mr Lyubomirsky said.
According to University of Melbourne Professor, and Medical Director of CurveBeam AI, Ego Seeman. Melbourne, “This new diagnostic tool provides a new direction for identifying women at risk of breaking a bone in the next year or two, by measuring their bone structure. This early detection will help doctors to treat before a fracture occurs.”
Healthy Bones Australia’s birthday milestone together with the OssView diagnostic pilot announcement is being made today in the lead up to World Osteoporosis Day, scheduled for next Thursday, October 20 – an annual public health day that raises global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of osteoporosis.
“Our 21st anniversary allows us to reflect with pride on our many remarkable achievements to date, including the launch of Australia’s first bone health, self- assessment tool – Know Your Bones – in 2016, a research partnership between Healthy Bones Australia and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. The tool was developed to help Australian adults understand and self-assess, their potential risk for developing osteoporosis,” said Mr Lyubomirsky.
Michelle Bridges, TV personality and health and wellness coach, has been the Know Your Bones Ambassador since August 2020, and has served to raise community awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy bones. Healthy Bones Australia has partnered with many other high-profile Australians over its 21-year-long history to help champion this important cause.
TV presenter, journalist and podcaster, Helen Dalley, Sydney, who was appointed Patron of Healthy Bones Australia in 2007, continues to fulfil this important role.
“I am incredibly proud of my longstanding association with Healthy Bones Australia. The organisation has generated much needed information about bone health to help change community awareness about the importance of protecting bone health, and continues to place early detection and treatment of osteoporosis at the forefront of the healthcare system’s focus.”
Over the past 21 years, Healthy Bones Australia has advocated for broader access to osteoporosis treatments, supported 62 Australian bone researchers, with grants totalling AUD 2.5 million (since 2004), and educated Australians about the importance of bone health, by providing national resources for the community, and ensuring broad access via a national website – www.healthybonesaustralia.org.au; toll-free helpline – 1800 242 141, fact sheets, and consumer guides. The organisation has also worked closely with General Practitioners, to promote early diagnosis, and with government to better prioritise bone health policy.
“I am proud of our many achievements to date, and we are now focusing on innovations, such as this new diagnostic tool, to pave the way for earlier detection, and treatment of osteoporosis,”
Mr Lyubomirsky said.
Osteoporosis is a disease that leads to reduced bone strength and increased risk of fracture. 1,3,4
The disease occurs when bones lose density and structural quality, leading to weakness of the skeleton.5 Once a fracture occurs, action must be taken to protect bone health, and the level of bone density is monitored to gauge improvement.5,6 Key risk factors for osteoporosis include a prior fracture, family history, certain medical conditions or medications, inadequate calcium or Vitamin D, early menopause/low testosterone, smoking, and high alcohol intake.2,8,9
About Healthy Bones Australia
Healthy Bones Australia, formerly Osteoporosis Australia, is a national, not-for-profit organisation, and the leading consumer body working to reduce unwanted broken bones, and improve bone health across Australia. Healthy Bones Australia was established in 2001 in response to the then growing number of Australians with poor bone health, and lack of health focus on preventing osteoporosis. Healthy Bones Australia strives to increase community and health professional awareness of osteoporosis and advocating to government, to reduce the impact of the disease nation-wide.
To learn more about Healthy Bones Australia, head to healthybonesaustralia.org.au, or for help and support, call 1800 242 141.
AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW
Mr Greg Lyubomirsky – CEO, Healthy Bones Australia, SYDNEY
Associate Professor Peter Wong - Head, Department of Rheumatology, Westmead Hospital & Chair, Healthy Bones Australia Medical & Scientific Advisory Committee, SYDNEY
Professor Peter Ebeling, AO – Chairman, Healthy Bones Australia & endocrinologist, Head of Department of Medicine, Monash Medical Centre, Monash University, MELBOURNE
Professor Ego Seeman – CurveBeam AI Medical Director, Professor & Endocrinologist, Departments of Medicine & Endocrinology, Austin Health, University of Melbourne, MELBOURNE
HEALTHY BONES AUSTRALIA PATRON
Ms Helen Dalley – TV presenter, journalist & podcaster, SYDNEY
AUSTRALIANS LIVING WITH OSTEOPOROSIS
Marilyn, 66 – Graphic designer & classic car enthusiast diagnosed with osteoporosis after falling & fracturing her arm, SYDNEY
Carole, 68 – Retired business consultant who has sustained multiple bone fractures & loss of height, CENTRAL COAST NSW
Elaine, 58 – Consumer advocate, GP practice manager, mum & grandmother living with severe osteoporosis, MELBOURNE
Ainslee, 44 – Disability advocate diagnosed with congenital osteoporosis at 35 years of age, GEELONG
Renee, 42 – Cancer survivor who sustained broken bones & was diagnosed with osteoporosis, GEELONG
Kimberley,42 – Wife & mother-to-two who was diagnosed with pregnancy-related osteoporosis following the birth of her second child, BRISBANE
Kirsten Bruce and Tanya Younan VIVA! Communications
M 0401 717 566 | 0410 340 421
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1. Watts, J., Ambimanyi-Ochom, J, & Sander K, Osteoporosis costing all Australians: A new burden of disease analysis 2012-2022. 2013, Osteoporosis Australia.
2. Australian Government Department of Health. National Strategic Action Plan for Osteoporosis. 2019 [cited June 2020]; Available from: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/national-strategic-action-plan-for-osteoporosis-2019.
3. Better health Channel, V.S.G. Osteoporosis. [cited Feb, 2021]; Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/osteoporosis.
4. Sözen, T., L. Özışık, and N.Ç. Başaran, An overview and management of osteoporosis. European journal of rheumatology, 2017. 4(1): p. 46-56.
5. Osteoporosis Australia. What you need to know about osteoporosis. Consumer guide. [cited Jan, 2020]; Available from: https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/sites/default/files/files/oa_consumer_ed2_Aug2014.pdf.
6. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners & Osteoporosis Australia, Osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis and management in postmenopausal women and men over 50 years of age. 2017.
7. Tatangelo, G., et al., The Cost of Osteoporosis, Osteopenia, and Associated Fractures in Australia in 2017. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 2019. 34(4): p. 616-625.
8. Unnanuntana, A., et al., The assessment of fracture risk. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume, 2010. 92(3): p. 743-753.
9. Pouresmaeili, F., et al., A comprehensive overview on osteoporosis and its risk factors. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 2018. 14: p. 2029-2049.