Bone Formation and Decay in Bears

Osteoporosis and Bears from Sci Central News
Bear Bones or Hormones

Associate Professor Seth Donahue’s (Biomedical Engineering) latest work on bone formation and decay in bears has been featured on the Discovery, SciCentral and WZZM13 Grand Rapids websites. Donahue investigates why bears don’t develop osteoporosis, despite sleeping away most of the winter. He has synthesized the hormone he believes is responsible, which could have implications for treating human osteoporosis.

Bears emerge from hibernation with bones as strong as two-by-fours. Why bears are able to dodge the osteoporosis bullet has been a puzzle. Now, a Michigan Tech scientist may have solved the mystery.




Bear Bones & Hibernation

The couch potato lifestyle may appeal to the sedentary beast in all of us, but it can be a major cause of osteoporosis. For black bears, however, it’s a different story. Seth Donahue’s research has shown that their bones remain strong year round, despite snoozing away for months in hibernation.

Videos: Bear Bone Research (Quicktime) (Real Player)

Journal article : Journal of Experimental Biology

More Stories:
Osgood’s CBS News
New Scientist
ScienCentral Science Daily
ABC News Great Moments in Science