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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X000958/1
Title: Prevention of osteoporosis through early monitoring of multiple measures of bone health in one device
Principal Investigator: Kerns, Dr JG
Other Investigators:
Griffiths, Professor F Dawes, Professor H van Arkel, Dr R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Medicine
Organisation: Lancaster University
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 March 2023 Ends: 31 August 2025 Value (£): 272,897
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
28 Oct 2021 Digital Health Sandpit Oct 2021 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Osteoporosis affects 3 million people in the UK and associated treatment, including for fragility fractures, costs the NHS £4.4 billion a year (NICE, impact falls and fragility fractures). There is a significant negative impact on quality of life to individuals with an increased risk of fracture, and increased morbidity and mortality for those who have had a fracture. All adults reach a peak bone mass at around the age of 30 years, from this point on there is some maintenance and then a decrease in bone mass. There is a significant decrease associated with the menopause due to the decrease in oestrogen.

This is an important problem because 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men will develop osteoporosis; with an ageing population the number of people with this condition will increase. This is detrimental to individuals and society, as well as a significant healthcare burden to the NHS. There is no screening programme for osteoporosis, and the majority of research studies and interventions are focused on the over 60s.

The aim of this project is to develop a novel technology that can specifically measure bone health in a simple, regular and non-invasive way. Specifically, the chemistry of nail, hair and urine will be optimised as a combined measure of bone health.

The objectives of this study are to collect nail, hair and urine samples from pre-menopausal women undergoing a DXA scan as part of routine clinical care. The chemistry from the nail and urine spectral data will be mapped against the bone mineral density data from the DXA scan. By collecting data from individuals across a range of BMD values, the spectral range and optical components of the device can be optimised for the design and development of a prototype device.

Throughout a user engagement group will provide input on the development of the device, to specifically contribute to the design and use of the final prototype, including user interaction with the data output.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.lancs.ac.uk