Bone Research Society

Bringing basic and clinical researchers together since 1950

Recent JAMA Study Questioning Benefits of Vitamin D and Calcium Supplements in Preventing Bone Breaks and Fractures May Create Confusion for Those Who Could Benefit 3 January 2018

December 29, 2017

The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), the world’s leading scientific organization for bone health experts, urges caution to patients, their caregivers and physicians regarding the new findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (December 26, 2017) that found no clear benefit in the use of vitamin D and calcium supplements in older adults who live in the general community.

Although the study reports that there is no evidence that these supplements prevent bone breaks or hip fractures for adults over 50 who are not living in hospitals, nursing homes or other facilities, it is critical for all to understand that this analysis focuses only on healthy adults. The results of this study do not apply to people with osteoporosis or other metabolic bone diseases or to people taking bone protective medications. For them, adequate calcium intake and vitamin D status needs to be ensured for their medications to be effective in preventing fractures.

“These findings may cause continued confusion for patients, their caregivers and their physicians about who should and who should not be taking supplemental vitamin D and calcium,” said Michael Econs, MD, ASBMR President and Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. “It’s important that everyone understand the guidelines that pertain to their health conditions and risks.”

For generally healthy adults over 50 living in the community, people should aim to get calcium in the diet from foods such as milk, vegetables, fruits and bean products. Vitamin D is in some foods and is synthesized in the skin and can be obtained by daily exposure to sunlight. This is in line with draft updated recommendations from US Preventive Services Task Force as of October 2017, although the final recommendations have not been published.


Screening could catch a quarter of hip fractures before they happen 20 December 2017

Community screening for osteoporosis could prevent more than a quarter of hip fractures in older women – according to new research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

A new study published this week in The Lancet reveals that a simple questionnaire, combined with bone mineral density measurements for some, would help identify those at risk of hip fracture.

The research, which involved more than 12,000 older women, found that screening through GP practices allowed patients to be targeted for treatment.

In women agreeing to participate, this led to a 28 per cent reduction in hip fractures over five years.

Lead researcher Prof Lee Shepstone, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said:

“Approximately one in three women and one in five men aged over 50 year will suffer a fragility fracture during their remaining lifetime. In the UK around 536,000 people suffer fragility fractures each year, including 79,000 hip fractures.

“A hip fracture can be devastating with a loss of independence and less than one third of patients make a full recovery. Mortality at one-year post-fracture is approximately 20 per cent.”

“We wanted to find out whether screening, like screening for breast cancer, could help identify those at risk of suffering a fracture.”

The large multicentre UK-based community screening study was a collaboration primarily between UEA and the University of Sheffield, and involved researchers at the Universities of Southampton, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and York, and over 100 primary care practices. 

The team used a University of Sheffield developed tool called FRAX, which predicts the probability of a hip fracture or a major osteoporotic fracture (a hip, spine, upper arm or lower arm fracture), to identify older women at high risk.

A total of 12,483 women aged 70-85 were recruited from 100 GP practices in seven regions (Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Norwich, Sheffield, Southampton, and York).

Half of the women were screened to compare screening with routine care.

Among those screened, treatment was subsequently recommended for one in seven women deemed at high risk of hip fracture. This recommendation was acted upon by the women and their GPs so that over three quarters of the women at high risk were on osteoporosis medications within six months of screening. 

While screening did not reduce the incidence of all osteoporosis-related fractures, there was strong evidence for a reduction in hip fractures.

In the screening group, there were 54 fewer women who suffered one or more hip fractures compared to the routine care group.

The study suggests that one hip fracture could be prevented for every 111 women screened and early analysis suggests the approach is likely to be cost-effective.

Prof Shepstone said: “This is the first trial to show that a community-screening approach based on the FRAX fracture risk tool is both feasible and effective. Given that the number of costly and debilitating hip fractures are expected to increase with an ageing population, the results of this study potentially have important public health implications.” 

Prof Eugene McCloskey, University of Sheffield, said: “Low-cost screening with FRAX among the older population could result in effective, targeted intervention to reduce the human and socioeconomic burden of hip fractures.  If the SCOOP screening strategy was taken up in exactly the same way as in the study in all UK women aged 70-85 years, we estimate that the strategy could prevent up to 8000 hip fractures per year in the UK.  Even greater gains could be made if we could reach out to women similar to those who did not take part in the study.”

The randomised controlled trial ‘SCreening for Osteoporosis in Older women for the Prevention of fracture’ (SCOOP) was funded by the Medical Research Council and Arthritis Research UK.

Dr Natalie Carter, head of research liaison and evaluation at Arthritis Research UK, said:

“Ten of thousands of people a year present with hip fractures in the UK.  As well as significantly increasing mortality, a hip fracture can stop a person’s ability to live independently, with 43% no longer being able to walk independently in the year after the fracture.

We welcome this community based screening programme and any other research that reduces the likelihood of fractures.”

‘Screening in the community to reduce fractures in older women (SCOOP): a randomised controlled trial’ is published in The Lancet on December 15.


In Memoriam: Professor Jeffrey L.H. O’ Riordan 23 October 2017

The BRS is sad to announce that Professor Jeffrey L.H. O’ Riordan, honorary member of our society, has passed away on October 9th.

Here, Prof. Martin Hewison and Dr. Sheelagh Farrow pay tribute to their mentor. A full in memoriam is now published in JBMR.

The sad news of the death of Jeffrey O’Riordan On Oct. 9th 2017 marks the end of an era for the UK Bone research community, and the many researchers who trained with Jeffrey during his 30-year career at the Middlesex Hospital in London.  The building that was home to generations of O’Riordan groups is no longer standing, but his legacy continues around the globe through the many achievements of his trainees, including Tom Clemens, Juliet Compston, Socrates Papapoulos, Silvano Adami, Geoff Hendy, Larry Fraher, Raj Thakker, Steve Tomlinson, Sheelagh Farrow, Peter Rowe, Rafik Karmali and Martin Hewison.  In stark contrast to the modern constraints of focused research projects O’Riordan’s research in the 1980s and 1990s was truly multi-disciplinary spanning the genetics of phosphate homeostasis, the molecular regulation of PTH synthesis and secretion, and the immunobiology of vitamin D. Indeed, even when many people would have been considering retirement, Jeffrey opted to go back into the lab for hands on research.

Supported by two successive MRC Programme Grants to study the regulation of mineral homeostasis, group members were given remarkable freedom to manage research projects and develop their own ideas. This was a key factor in the successful transition to independent researcher for so many group members, although Jeffrey’s input was never far away, particularly when manuscripts or presentations were being produced. Jeffrey published over 175 manuscripts, including many highly cited seminal studies – his final paper being a review of ‘Rickets before the discovery of vitamin D’. He also received many awards including a career achievement award from the Workshop on Vitamin D. However, most of us will remember Jeffrey as a key part of the vibrant community of bone and mineral researchers in the late 1980s. Jeffery himself was somewhat restrained about this, but he introduced his team to many prominent figures in the research world and encouraged active socialising as an important part of research training - most of us will never forget the many late nights at BATS/BRS, ECTS and ASBMR meetings. Working with Jeffrey meant being part of his family (literally in some cases), and his family was the center of his life.  In remembering Jeffrey, we would also like to offer our commiserations to his wife Sally, his children and grandchildren.  


Prof Martin Hewison 

Professor of Molecular Endocrinology

Institute of Metabolism & Systems Research

The University of Birmingham

Birmingham, UK

Dr Sheelagh Farrow

Managing Director

International Medical Press

Admiral House

Old Street

London, UK


The funeral will be on Oct 30th


In Memoriam: Professor Judith Elizabeth Adams 14 October 2017

Leading Skeletal Radiologist and expert in adult and pediatric bone densitometry 

It is our great sadness to announce that Professor Judith Elizabeth Adams, ‘Judy’ to her friends, an eminent skeletal radiologist passed away after a short illness on 30th September 2017. Judy was born 16th May, 1945, in Liverpool and grew up in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). She trained at University College Hospital, London, UK with her radiology career beginning in 1972. Her mentors included Sir Godfrey Hounsfield, the inventor of X-ray computed tomography, and Sir Charles Dent, a pioneer of metabolic bone disease in the UK. She joined The University of Manchester in 1976 and became a Professor of Radiology and Head of Clinical Radiology in 1993. She served as Dean, member of council and Vice-President of the Royal College of Radiologists.  Judy was a member of many societies, including American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, European Calcified Tissue Society, National Osteoporosis Society and Bone Research Society (UK); also the International Skeletal Society and European Society for Skeletal Radiologists. She travelled the World attending the International Bone Densitometry Workshops and hosting the 1987 Workshop in the UK.

Her clinical and research expertise lay particularly in the field of bone densitometry, quantitative computed tomography and vertebral fracture recognition. She contributed greatly to the development and application of bone densitometry in children and adults.  She led and co-authored several national and international guidance documents for clinical application of bone densitometry in pediatric and adult fields.   In addition to her clinical expertise she carried our extensive research in the field of osteoporosis and bone densitometry throughout her career, with over £5.5 million awarded from research councils, charity and industry, with £750 000 still in active research.  This research resulted in over 200 peer-reviewed publications, 24 invited reviews and 34 book chapters, the last proof read only 3 weeks ago.

For her contribution to research of note, was her role in the collection of one of the first and largest UK reference datasets in children, which has transformed paediatric practice in the UK. She championed the clinical application of quantitative computed tomography in adults and also for research since the early days of its use, being for a long time the only UK Centre that used the method. As part of this she worked closely with Prof Harry Genant at UCSF.  Judy worked tirelessly to emphasize the importance of identifying the presence of osteoporotic vertebral fractures.  She subsequently worked on creating active appearance models for the semi-automated assessment of vertebral fracture from DXA and from clinical CT scans. She was a champion of the International Osteoporosis Foundation Vertebral Fracture initiative.  Through her role in the European Society for Skeletal Radiology Judy provided a bridge between the radiology and bone fields.

Besides focusing on osteoporosis in adults in children today, Judy also used her expertise to elucidate skeletal pathologies in Ancient Egyptian mummies both human and animal.  This included making a diagnosis of a case of Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type V 3000 years later! She always loved new challenges in the application of imaging.

The UK Bone Research Society honored Judy by inviting her to co-present the annual BRS Dent Lecture in 2015 with Professor Ignac Fogelman, recognising her contribution to developments in clinical imaging. In 2016, she was awarded Linda Edwards Award from The National Osteoporosis Society, UK, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the field of osteoporosis.   For radiology she was most recently awarded the Gold medal from the Royal College of Radiologists (2016), also a Gold medal from the International Skeletal Society (2007).

Judy was a tireless supporter of the UK National Osteoporosis Society, bringing her expertise as a Radiologist to the charity. She served as a Trustee, member of the Medical Board, conference planning committee, Bone Densitometry Training Scheme along with other advisory roles.

Judy was a warm, thoughtful and loyal friend.  She was a great mentor to both of us and many other clinicians and scientists who are indebted to her mentorship and tutelage. Her collaborations spanned the globe.  She will be remembered by all for her elegance, her smile and her laugh, her bright clothes and her endless energy and enthusiasm.   Judy was wonderful company both professionally and personally. Outside of work, she loved culture, from Manchester United through to opera, flowers, gardening and travel.  Sadly Judy’s husband of 45 years, Professor Peter Adams, an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Manchester, passed away a week later. They are survived by their two sons, Charles and James and their three grandchildren on whom they doted, also by Judy’s sister Jane and family.


Dr Kate Ward

Associate Professor

MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology,

University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital

Southampton, UK


 Professor Zulf Mughal

Consultant in Paediatric Bone Disorders & Honorary Clinical Professor of Child Health

Department of Paediatric Endocrinology

Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust 

Manchester, UK



Video - An Introduction to Bone Tumours 10 August 2017

By Esther Cummings

Neil Mackenzie Award Winner 2017

Bone and Calcium Endocrine Network - Research Incubator at SfE BES 31 July 2017

We are delighted to announce that the Bone and Calcium Endocrine Network will be holding new Research Incubator meeting at SfE BES 2017 in November.

Get your research idea off the ground: apply to the Endocrine Networks Research Incubator at SfE BES 2017

Do you have an innovative research idea? Do you need access to resources, databases or collaborators to attract funding and get your research underway? Then apply for a slot in the Research Incubator meetings at this year’s SfE BES conference.

The Research Incubator meetings will be held at the start of each day during SfE BES 2017. If your application is successful, you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your idea through a short presentation (2 slides maximum) and an in depth discussion in front of a panel of experts (the invited experts will be related to your specialism).

You’ll receive constructive advice on how to increase the success of your proposal, and how to maximise your chances of attracting support from major funding bodies.

Don’t miss your chance to get expert feedback on your research idea - applications close 30 August 2017 APPLY NOW




Bristol meeting video 6 July 2017

See highlights from this years BRS meeting in Bristol.

Bone modeling vs remodeling in the adult skelton: Treatment effects and impact on bone strength 4 July 2017

Roland Baron (Harvard, USA) presented and excellent symposium at the BRS Meeting in Bristol last week.

Quest for the Mechanostat, Charles Dent Lecture, BRS Bristol 4 July 2017

This year Lance Lanyon (Bristol, UK) came out of retirement to present the Charles Dent lecture "Quest for the Mechanostat"

BRS committee member Prof Nick Harvey demonstrates huge potential for musculoskeletal science in UK Biobank 4 July 2017

18 CPD credits for the Bristol meeting 3 July 2017

The Royal College of Physicians has approved the Bristol meeting for 18 credits.  Course code 111206.  Please contact Joanne McBratney if you didn't pick up your certificate of attendance at the meeting.

World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, March 2017 15 May 2017

Summary of key scientific abstracts presented in Florence at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, March 2017.

Experts highlight the clinical impact of the research presented.

Themes covered include treatment of osteoporosis, fractures, muscle-sarcopenia, nutrition, bone qualities: microarchitecture and density.

Includes summaries of two key symposia:
Global differences in dietary calcium intake.
Identification and management of patients at imminent risk of osteoporotic fracture.
Watch video commentaries from selected expert reviewers.


May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month 15 May 2017

Join the ASBMR in recognizing National Osteoporosis Month in May. Each week they will be broadcasting content from recent publications, media coverage, website content, sessions from their upcoming Annual Meeting, and member stories/quotes. 

    • Week One - Call to Action - Addressing the Crisis in the Treatment of Osteoporosis
    • Week Two - The Research Science of Osteoporosis
    • Week Three - The Clinical Practice of Osteoporosis
    • Week Four - Pathways to Prevention: Osteoporosis and the Patient (and Caregivers)


BRS supporting NICE osteoporosis quality standard 2 May 2017

The BRS are pleased to be supporting the NICE osteoporosis quality standard which was launched on Friday.


Joint Position Statement: Management of Aromatase Inhibitor-Associated Bone Loss (AIBL) in postmenopausal women with hormone sensitive breast cancer 28 April 2017

We are pleased to announce a new position statement by the Working Group on Bone and Cancer, recently published in the Journal of Bone Oncology:

This important guidance makes clear clinical recommendations, reflecting data indicating that denosumab and bisphosphonates are safe and effective agents for preserving bone health during adjuvant endocrine therapy for breast cancer. In addition, emerging anticancer benefits from bisphosphonates provide additional reasons to proactively use these agents during adjuvant AI treatment.

We thank the Working Group and the six international and European societies which have been involved in this Joint Position: Cancer and Bone Society (CABS), International Expert Group for AIBL (IEG), European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (ESCEO), European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS), International Menopause Society (IMS), and the International Society for Geriatric Oncology (SIOG).


UK National Osteoporosis Guideline Group (NOGG) 2017 Update released 24 April 2017

The Bone Research Society is pleased to announce that the UK National Osteoporosis Guideline Group (NOGG) 2017 Update has now been released via their website (  This new Guideline, accredited by NICE, includes a number of updates on risk assessment, management and treatments.  An obvious change is the alteration to the age-related assessment and intervention thresholds so that these now remain constant from the age of 70 years upwards.  The thresholds remain automatically accessible from the FRAX UK risk assessment tool.  The full Guideline, and an updated Patient Information Leaflet, are available in PDF formats from the website.  The Guideline has also recently been published in Archives in Osteoporosis (doi 10.1007/s11657-017-0324-5).

2017 Bone and Joint Health Campaign in The Guardian newspaper and online 30 March 2017

We recently partnered with Mediaplanet UK on the 2017 Bone and Joint Health Campaign in The Guardian newspaper and online at Read motivating insight from thought leaders and learn more about the importance education and innovation for increasing orthopaedic disorders

Survey - Broken Bones in Older People 20 March 2017

Oxford Trauma is launching a James Lind Alliance Research Priority Setting Exercise (PSP) in the area of broken bones in older people. The first PSP will address broken bones of the lower limb and pelvis in patients over 60 years of age. The PSP is a collaboration of patients, carers and healthcare professionals who will identify the ‘top ten’ research priorities in this important area.

We would like to invite you to participate in the first broken bones in older people survey which will take you approximately 10 – 15 minutes to answer. This can be found online at:

Alternatively a paper version can be made available by contacting the project coordinator, or 01865 223114.

Initiatives/Requests for Expertise in Rare Bone Disease 20 March 2017

A group of rare disease stakeholders have come together to form a Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) to find out what matters to patients, carers and clinicians in the field of musculoskeletal diseases in adulthood. The conditions being looked at are fibrous dysplasia/McCune Albright syndrome, osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) and X-linked hypophosphataemia, which may cause bone pain, skeletal deformity and fractures.

To this end the PSP has launched a survey asking for people to consider which questions they think are the most important for researchers to be asking.

Who can get involved?

– The survey can be answered by any adult who has a musculoskeletal disease listed above;
– is a carer or family member of an adult with one of the diseases;
– is a health care, or social care, professional caring for adults with musculoskeletal diseases; or
– is part of an organisation representing and/ or supporting people with musculoskeletal diseases.


Contact details: Judith Rogers, Assistant James Lind Alliance Project Co-ordinator, Tel/voicemail: (01865) 223298| E-mail:

The survey will be open from 23 March 2017.

Additional requests for expertise:

A patient in Oxford is undergoing excision of lump of bone due to diffuse skeletal angiomatosis. Is there anyone in the UK researching in this or Gorham Stout disease?  If so, please contact Dr Kassim Javaid ( 

Finally the team in Oxford is working on a programme of work to sort out why patients with Fibrous Dysplasia / McCune Albright develop pain. If there are any interested scientist (either basic or clinical) please get in touch with

NI funding deadline extended - now 24th March 12 March 2017

The award deadline has been extended and we have clarified the requirements for the Neil Mackenzie Publica Engagement Award. If you dont want to draw and example storyboard, then just describe your 'story' in bullet points.

January Newsletter - call for abstracts (deadline 10/2), constitution change, 2017 award applications 5 December 2016

The January newsletter is now out. Please see for details of the Constitution changes, call for abstracts for Bristol, and call for Barabara Mawer and Neil Mackenzie public engagement award applications for 2017. Deadline 3/3/2017!


President's message 4 October 2016

President Professor Miep Helfrich has posted her first message on the website, giving her vision for the Society and its members. 

BRS abstracts 2016 26 September 2016

The abstracts from the Liverpool meeting have now been published in Frontiers in Endocrinology: Bone Research and can be viewed here.


In Memorium: Dr Robert Heaney, expert in calcium and vitamin D biology, dies aged 88 years 14 August 2016

It is with sadness that BRS learnt of the recent passing of Dr Robert P. Heaney, aged 88 years.  Dr Heaney was a distinguished professor of medicine and internationally renowned for his contribution to the field of bone health. His work has been widely recognised as pioneering in the field of osteoporosis, particularly focussing on the importance of vitamin D and calcium for bone health thoughout life. Dr Heaney received awards from ASBMR and was a National Osteoporosis Foundation 'Legend of Osteoporosis'. Dr Heaney will be sadly missed but his contributions to the field will live on. 

New guidance released on dietary Vitamin D intakes for bone and muscle health 25 July 2016



The Scientific Advisory Committee for Nutrition (SACN) today released their updated guidance for population intakes of vitamin D for the protection of bone and muscle health ( Subsequent policy has been published by Public Health England (

The Bone Research Society welcomes the release of the SACN document and believes that it is a step-forward in ensuring clearer messages are given to the public about how much vitamin D they need. The main message is that everyone aged 1 year or above should have a daily dietary intake of vitamin D of 10 micrograms (mcgs), which is the equivalent of 400 international units (IU) per day. 

The recommendation that policy makers address strategies aimed at ensuring adequate intake all year round is also welcomed. Public Health England (PHE) have already responded and suggest the whole population take dietary supplements in winter months, when sunshine exposure is inadequate for optimal vitamin D synthesis, as well as all year round in high risk groups. The Bone Research Society is in agreement with the PHE approach, that where adequate vitamin D status cannot be achieved by dietary intake or habitual sunshine exposure, supplementation to ensure a daily intake of 10mcg per day is sensible; detailed information on food sources and safe sunshine exposure has been published by the UK National Osteoporosis Society  (

The Society would also highlight the particular problem of vitamin D deficiency within the ethnic minority population in the UK (as pigmented/ covered skin reduces the capacity to synthesize vitamin D in the skin), and that interventions aimed at increasing vitamin D levels in these individuals, in whom the risk of bone problems such as rickets is vastly greater than in the general population, should be actively considered. Where individuals take vitamin D supplements, they should pay special attention to the dose (taking care not to confuse micrograms with international units) and to obtain the supplements from a reputable supplier. Treatment of individuals who have signs and/or symptoms of bone/ muscle problems caused by vitamin D deficiency should be treated with a licenced vitamin D product (manufactured as a medicine rather than a food supplement, so the dose is guaranteed) by a medical practitioner.

Finally, whilst the Bone Research Society endorses the SACN/ PHE approach, it would like to highlight the recommended research section of the SACN document and in particular to recommend that further work is needed to document whether particular groups (such as pregnant women, highlighted by a recent trial of 1000 IU/day vitamin D in pregnancy; and those with pigmented / covered skin; children or the elderly) might benefit from more targeted intervention with higher doses and secondly further understanding of role of dietary calcium on  the effects of vitamin D on musculoskeletal health at different stages of the life course.


On behalf of the Bone Research Society,

Dr Kate Ward (MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton), Prof. Nicholas Harvey (MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton), Dr Kassim Javaid (University of Oxford), Dr Celia Gregson (University of Bristol)


For further details please email:

Public engagement success 19 July 2016

The LJMU School of Sport and Exercise Science hosted three events as part of the Annual International Meeting of the Bone Research Society (BRS) in Liverpool last week, for which Professor Jarvis was on the local scientific committee. The BRS has a commitment to public engagement, and worked with the LJMU Widening Participation Office to invite an audience of year 8 pupils from local schools targeted to encourage participation in higher education. 30 pupils arrived with their teachers on Wednesday 29th June for lunch and an introductory welcome to Sport and Exercise Science and a brief lecture on ‘Bones: the basics’. They then enjoyed an interactive workshop with four activities prepared by our own Professor Gabor Barton (video tracking of movement); Dr Alistair Bond (University of Liverpool) who explained some impressive bones including a hippopotamus skull and an elephant femur; Dr Alison Gartland (University of Sheffield) who led hands-on loading of chicken bones to illustrate their material properties, and Emma Morris (University of Oxford) the winner of a competition among the BRS young investigators to design an activity for the workshop. Emma demonstrated the internal structure of bones with balloons.

The workshop was a great success and great fun for staff and pupils alike: one of our visitors said:

 “I recently participated in the visit to learn about bones in the University. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has succeeded in making me have an interest for anatomy. The best thing about the trip was being able to hold all the bones and conducting an experiment to see the effect certain drinks had on bones. There aren’t many things you can do to improve the great afternoon, except from make it a WHOLE day!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the amazing opportunity that we were given, but you can have my bones over my dead body!”

At the same time, Zoe Knowles (Face2Face with Sports Science) presented on the principles and practice of public engagement to the BRS young investigators group. They were able to meet the schools presenters and observe the workshop to get ideas for their own future events.

Finally, Professors Jarvis and Barton organised workshops as part of the main programme of the conference on ‘clinical gait analysis’ and ‘muscle and bone’ respectively in the Tom Reilly building.

Professor Jarvis also wrapped up the conference on Friday evening with Professors Eugene McCloskey (President of the BRS) and Professor Virginia Krause (President of the OARSI, the international research grouping for osteoarthritis) in a public lecture at the University of Liverpool on the musculoskeletal system entitled ‘What really moves you?’


Report by Professor Jonathan Jarvis, Sport and Exercise Science, LJMU


Congratulations - President-Elect and team win Royal Television Society Award 14 July 2016

We are pleased to announce that our President-Elect, Professor James Gallagher and team, won a Royal Television Society award for their 'Body Donors' programme


A tribute to Professor Ignac Fogelman 7 July 2016

The BRS has sadly learned of the passing of Professor Ignac Fogelman on Tuesday 5th July 2016.  Ignac was a long-term, committed member of the BRS who brought a great deal of knowledge, expertise and humour to his interactions with all the members of the BRS.  The annual meetings of BRS were always enhanced by his presence.

Born in 1948, Ignac attended the High School in Glasgow before graduating in Medicine from the University of Glasgow.  He developed a clinical and research focus in nuclear medicine early in his career while working with Iain Boyle and colleagues in Glasgow Royal Infirmary.  He quickly recognized the important role isotope bone scanning could play in the diagnosis and monitoring of treatment of patients with metabolic bone diseases, and published a series of papers on this topic as a registrar and senior registrar at Glasgow Royal.  He was appointed as a consultant physician at Guy’s Hospital, London in 1983 and became the Director of the Nuclear Medicine Department in 1988.  His insight into the potential of this technology, and determination to use it effectively, has had a lasting impact in the field.  Through an active and productive research career, including 15 highly regarded books and over 400 peer-reviewed papers, Ignac was a renowned expert in nuclear medicine.  He was also instrumental in the introduction of DXA into UK clinical practice as well as contributing to knowledge and education around DXA limitations and, more latterly, had also pioneered the use of positron emission tomography in the study of osteoporosis and regional bone turnover.

In 2014, as Professor of Nuclear Medicine (NM) at King’s College London and Director of the Osteoporosis Screening and Research Unit, he was awarded the prestigious Sir Godfrey Hounsfield Memorial Award by the British Institute of Radiology.  The BRS honoured Ignac by inviting him to co-present the annual BRS Dent Lecture in 2015 with Professor Judith Adams, recognising his contribution to developments in clinical imaging.  Unfortunately, due to ill health, he was unable to attend the meeting in Edinburgh but Professor Adams acknowledged his work in an excellent overview.  He was presented with his BRS Dent Lecture award in November.

Above all, Ignac was a very proud family man.  He was a wonderful, warm character who combined a love of science with a love of excellent food, wine and culture.  He will be sorely missed by the BRS and the osteoporosis research and clinical community in general.

BRS past presidents win prestigious ECTS awards 5 July 2016

The BRS is very proud to announce that two of its members, both past presidents of our society, were presented with senior awards at the European Calcified Tissue Society conference in May in Rome. Professor Jonathan Reeve received the Philippe Bordier award for clinical research. Claus Glüer, president of the ECTS, in presenting the award remembered Jonathan as “always about a decade ahead of the rest of us”. As member of the team of Oriel College Oxford that won University Challenge in 1966, Jonathan honed his skills to remember a huge amount of information. In his research he often tackled questions by first developing or applying novel analytical methods. This started during his early work on PTH as an anabolic agent when he developed new ways to measure new bone formation and continued during his work in several EU-funded projects in the area of osteoporosis where he validated biochemical and densitometric markers and most recently in his studies analysing regional differences in bone structure and strength. Throughout his career Jonathan has collaborated widely and highly internationally. In accepting the award and with typical Jonathan wit, he told the audience he had tasked Google with working out his collaborative network from his (many) publications, but unfortunately could not yet show us the result as the calculations were still ongoing.

Tim received the Mike Horton award for basic research. In presenting the award, Isabel Orriss, who has worked with Tim for over 10 years remembered the time Tim spent in the USA with David Dempster where they first realised the profound effect of pH on osteoclast activity. This finding led to Tim’s career-long studies on basic physiological parameters that influence bone resorption and bone formation. Similar to Jonathan, Tim has been outspoken about the need to use robust analytical methods. He has contributed extensively to the literature in the area of bone cell biology and has produced many methodological papers and book chapters. Tim has been tireless in serving on committees and boards of scientific societies, including the ECTS and the BRS. Isabel also commented on the role of Tim as a mentor. “Tim has always supported the development of new investigators both within his own group and the field as a whole.”  In accepting the award Tim paid tribute to Mike Horton (also a past president of the BRS) after whom the award is named and his many students, staff and collaborators during his career.

The BRS is proud to have such outstanding scientists in its midst. We congratulate Jonathan and Tim warmly with these awards.

'Body Donors' nominated for Royal Television Society Awards 20 June 2016

'Body Donors', the Channel Five series featuring students and staff at the University of Liverpool, including BRS members Alistair Bond and Jim Gallagher, has been nominated for two awards at the Royal Television Society Awards . The awards ceremony takes place on the 24 June 2016.

Working with Daisybeck Studios, the Liverpool team created a documentary series that, for the first time, depicted the experience of body donation from the perspective of donors, anatomy students and surgeons.

The series has been nominated for Best Factual Series and the Made in Yorkshire category (where the production company is based).

The two-year project allowed television cameras to follow the lives of two cancer patients, in life and after death, showing their experiences of terminal illness and the work of staff and students at the Human Anatomy Resource Centre, who use the donated bodies for learning and research.

Jim Gallagher, said: “This nomination is not only a recognition of the work of our staff and students, but is another opportunity to honour the lives of those people who donate their bodies so generously and bravely to science. We particularly want to thank the families of the donors who contributed to the series”.

Alistair Bond will be presenting the “Anatomy of the skeleton” as part of “The Science of Bones Workshop” for local children at the forthcoming BRS Annual Meeting in Liverpool. Daisybeck studios have provided support for “What really moves you? A public lecture on the wonders of your musculoskeletal system” which will close the meeting on Friday 1July.

BRS president wins the IOF Medal of Achievement 26 April 2016

Our BRS president, Prof. Eugene McCloskey, was recently awarded the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) Medal of Achievement.

The prestigious award is presented annually at the IOF annual conference to honour an individual researcher who has significantly advanced the field of osteoporosis through his or her original and outstanding scientific contributions. The award underlines important aspects of IOF’s mission – to increase understanding and awareness of osteoporosis and to promote medical innovation and improved care.

Many congratulations to Eugene on this achievement. Further details on the achievement can be found on the IOF website

A role for testosterone in vascular calcification 22 April 2016

Work by BRS committee member Dr. Vicky MacRae and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh has shown that testosterone may be linked to vascular calcification, a life-threatening complication of cardiovascular disease. Their manuscript, published in Scientific reports, examined the effects of testosterone on vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) and found it to increase their calcification. This calcification was however blunted in VSMC-specific androgen receptor ablated VSMCs.

This work has received UK wide coverage including: BBC News, The Evening Standard, New Day, The Sun (Scottish and UK editions), Herald, Scotsman, Radio Forth, BBC Five Live and BBC Radio Scotland.

For more info see:

BRS Clinical Training Course 23 March 2016

The BRS Clinical Training Course took place on 16-18 March at St Anne's College, Oxford, and as usual it was an extremely stimulating few days with a lot of opportunities for sharing ideas and knowledge.  In the words of one participant "It simply was a superb course, absolutely tailor made for me for sure as a clinician". We'll be announcing the dates for 2017 shortly.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall receives and Honorary Doctorate Science 16 February 2016

Last Thursday, the University of Southampton awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Science, honoris causa) to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

The Duchess of Cornwall received the special award for her tireless leadership in supporting patients, researchers and health professionals engaged in the management of osteoporosis. In a personal and passionate speech about osteoporosis she noted the contribition of the National Osteoporosis Society, of which she is President, and its work in patient support and advocacy, riving policy and osteoporosis research (

Professor Cyrus Cooper, former BRS president and Director of the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre, University of Southampton, has worked with The Duchess of Cornwall on a number of osteoporosis prevention projects. He and his team (including BRS Committe members Prof Nick Harvey and Dr K Ward) met later with the Duchess showing her the latest advancements in their research.


2015 Dent Lecture Award 23 November 2015

This year, BRS broke with the tradition of a single award for the annual Dent Lecture as the Society wished to acknowledge the contribution of advances in imaging, particularly clinical imaging, to the development of musculoskeletal research over the past few decades.  In recognition of their outstanding contribution to this research area, Professor Judith Adams (Manchester) and Professor Ignac Fogelman (London) were invited to present the Dent Lecture for 2015.

Professor Adams trained under Charles Dent and Sir Godfrey Hounsfield (the inventor of computed tomography) and was given the award for her work as a skeletal radiologist. Her expertise is particularly in the field of bone densitometry, quantitative computed tomography and vertebral fracture recognition. She has also helped to develop the application of bone densitometry to children.

Professor Fogelman is a renowned expert in nuclear medicine, particularly isotope bone scanning, and in 2014 was awarded the prestigious Sir Godfrey Hounsfield Memorial Award.  He has also been instrumental in the introduction of DXA into UK clinical practice as well as contributing to knowledge around DXA limitations.  More recently, he has pioneered the use of positron emission tomography in the study of osteoporosis and regional bone turnover.

Due to ill health, Professor Fogelman was unable to attend the BRS Meeting in Edinburgh but Professor Adams acknowledged his work in an excellent overview of the developments in clinical imaging. 

Bone Research Society 2015 meeting abstracts 9 October 2015

The BRS abstracts presented at the Edinburgh meeting have now been published in Frontiers and can be viewed online here.

BRS members feature in Channel 5 documentary, 'Demystifying body donation' 6 October 2015

BRS members Jim Gallagher and Alistair Bond are part of the team at the University of Liverpool who have been working with a television production company to create a documentary, series that, for the first time, depicts the experience of body donation from the perspective of donors, anatomy students and surgeons. The two part series “Body Donors”, aired on Channel Five on Tuesday, 29 September and Tuesday 6, October at 9pm, addresses the importance of hands on learning for students studying the human body.  The two-year project allowed television cameras to follow the lives of two donors in life and in death - through their experiences of terminal illness, to the work of staff and students at the University’s Human Anatomy Resource Centre utilising their bodies for learning and research.  


Many congratulations to the 2015 BRS Award winners 2 October 2015

Best Oral Communication

OC22 – Simon Roberts (Edinburgh) - TRIM32 knockout mice develop accelerated osteoarthritis of the knee joint after destabilisation of the medial meniscus (DMM) surgery and upon ageing

OC24 - Aaron Murphy (Bristol) - High bone mass is associated with bone-forming features of osteoarthritis in non-weight bearing joints and independent of body mass index

OC28 - John Logan (London) - The origins of bone and cartilage disease: high throughput bone phenotype screen to identify new genes that determine bone structure and strength


Best Oral Poster

OP3 - Kim Askew (Lexington) - ENPP1 enzyme replacement therapy for generalized arterial calcification of infancy


Best Poster

LB2 - Mark Ditzel (Edinburgh) - Regulation of articular cartilage homeostasis by the N-end rule ubiquitin-protein ligase UBR5

LB6 - Owen Davies (Loughborough) - Modulation of ectopic ossification in tissue engineered skeletal muscle by an inflammatory environment


Rare Bone Diseases Workshop – Best Presentation

P53 - Leah Taylor (Liverpool) - Progression of osteoarthropathy in alkaptonuria patients monitored by 18F –NaF PET


Muscle and Bone Workshop – Best Presentation

P45 - Niina Hopper (Cambridge) - The role of osteocytes in targeted remodelling of third metacarpal bone in the TB racehorse


New Investigator Awards (awarded prior to the meeting, based on scores achieved during the blind review process)

OC6 - Siobhan Webb (Oxford) - The anti-diabetic drug metformin reduces tumour burden and osteolytic bone disease in multiple myeloma in vivo

OC11 - Neil Thomas (Liverpool) - Identification of high density mineralised protrusions (HDMPs) in ex-vivo human knee joints

OC14 - Pradeep Sacitharan (Oxford) - Loss of SirT1 dysregulates chondrocytes and leads to an arthritic phenotype in vivo, through decreased control of autophagy

OC17 - Mark Edwards (Southampton) - Relationships between DNA methylation and bone mineral content from an epigenome wide association study in the Hertfordshire Cohort Study

OC35 - Karla Oldknow (Edinburgh) - Endocrine role of bone: PHOSPHO1 a novel regulator of energy metabolism


ASBMR Travel Grants (awarded prior to the meeting to New Investigator ASBMR members residing outside of the UK to attend the Edinburgh meeting. Awards based on scores achieved during the blind review process)

OC10 - Megan Weivoda (Rochester, USA) - Reduced osteoclast TGFβ signaling with age impairs the coupling of bone resorption to bone formation

OC23 - Jawed Siddiqui (New York, USA) - Regulation of PTH-induced bone loss: a role for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1

Welcome to the new committee members! 23 September 2015

We welcome three new committee members this year, Dr's Kassim Javaid, Vicky MacRae and Katherine Staines (New Investigator Rep) who each join the committee for three years. We thank outgoing committee members, Fraser Coxon, Isabel Orris and NI rep Adam Taylor. There have also been changes in the Executive committee with Bronwen Evans and Kate Ward taking over as Treasurer and Secretary respectively. Many thanks to Jim Gallagher and Allie Gartland who have both given excellent service to the committee as secretary and treasurer over the past three years.

Confused over reporting of the need for vitamin D supplementation? Make vitamin D safely when the sun shines! 4 August 2015

Where to start with advice about vitamin D supplementation?  For the lay person (and even the experts!), it can be a complex question to address.  Of course, these days we have the internet to ‘help’ in providing background information and easing our decision-making.  However, to the dismay of many people, things are rarely cut and dried in the area of general measures for improved public health.  Mixed messages are incredibly common, even from within the same source.  For example, a recent report currently out for consultation from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) addressing the daily requirements for vitamin D has been reported on the BBC website as a call that “Everyone should consider taking vitamin D supplements to counter the lack of sunshine in the UK, government experts are proposing.” In contrast, the same website also reported in January 2014 that vitamin D was not needed for healthy people.

The purpose of the current SACN review on vitamin D was to consider whether the dietary reference values (DRVs) for vitamin D established in 1991 are still appropriate in the context of current lifestyles (e.g., advice to stay out of the sun and to wear sunscreen).  The SACN report is a comprehensive review of what we know and, more importantly, what we don’t know about the requirements for vitamin D in our diets.  They concluded that there was relatively little to change about the 1991 advice; a Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for vitamin D of 10 μg/d is proposed for the UK population aged 4 years and over as this is the amount needed for 97.5% of the population to maintain a serum 25(OH)D concentration of 25 nmol/L when UVB sunshine exposure is minimal.  Similar intakes were proposed for children younger than 4 years. 

The conclusion is that vitamin D supplements are not needed by everyone!  The SACN report is entirely consistent with the message that dietary intake of vitamin D is really only of critical importance in those without adequate sunshine exposure.  Importantly, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has also recently published a consultation document on sunlight exposure that tries to address the balance between the need for vitamin D from sunlight exposure of the skin against the potential adverse effects, especially melanoma.  It states that people who have little or no exposure to the sun for cultural reasons or because they are housebound or otherwise confined indoors for long periods are at risk of low vitamin D status.  This mirrors Department of Health guidance that also draws attention to other high risk groups including all pregnant and breastfeeding women, especially teenagers and young women; older people aged 65 years and over and people who have darker skin, for example people of African, African-Caribbean or South Asian origin, because their bodies are not able to make as much vitamin D.  The recent NICE guidance states that exposure of relatively small areas of skin (including commonly exposed areas, such as forearms and hands) for short periods when in strong sunlight provides vitamin D. (Longer periods of exposure may be needed for those with darker skin.)

So use the summer sun(!) wisely.  Enjoy it safely, while taking care not to burn, and get the benefits of vitamin D without unduly raising the risk of skin cancer.  It is impractical to offer a one-size-fits-all recommendation for the amount of sun exposure that people need to make sufficient vitamin D but the SunSmart campaign provides good general advice.

  • Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
  • Make sure you never burn
  • Aim to cover up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses
  • Remember to take extra care with children
  • Then use factor 15+ sunscreen



BRS supports ARRIVE 14 July 2015

BRS members can play an important role in improving the reporting of animal research by supporting the ARRIVE guidelines. The National Centre for the Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) produced the ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines  to improve the reporting of research using animals – maximising information published and minimising unnecessary studies. Information about the guidelines, including a checklist, can be found on their website here

The BRS committee would like to encourage it's members to adopt the guidelines to promote a high standard of reporting of animal experiments in the Bone research field.

BRS members' paper making international news! 28 May 2015

A Nature paper published online yesterday by BRS Secretary Allie Gartland and colleagues is making international news as it shows how breast cancer "alters bone to help it spread". The BBC, among others, has covered the story, describing how the discovery could lead to treatments for the prevention of secondary cancers. See here for link to the original article. 


BRS Honorary Member’s portrait shown at Annual Portrait Exhibition 16 April 2015

To celebrate the opening of phase 2 of the Botnar Research Centre the NOC Appeal Trustees commissioned a portrait of Honorary BRS member Prof Graham Russell.

The portrait was painted by Keith Breeden and will be on display at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters annual exhibition in The Mall Galleries, The Mall, (near Trafalgar Square), from April 16th to May 1st.

Entry is free!!

More information on Keith Breeden can be found here and on his website.

BRS researchers in Parliament! 7 April 2015

Dr Seint Lwin (Oxford) and Ms Juhi Misra (Sheffield) were recently selected to present their science to Parliament, as part of the 2015 SET for Britain competition on 9 March 2015.

The overall aim of SET for Britain is to encourage, support and promote Britain's early-stage and early-career researchers who are key to the UK’s continued progress in and development of R&D.

Researchers are shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament and judged by leading academics against dozens of other peers in the only national competition of its kind.

Seint is working on how diet manipulation affects ageing, cancer, and skeletal health. On presenting her science in Parliament, she said: “I am excited to be able to share our work at this wonderful event, promoting the breadth and depth of scientific research across the UK. Our work highlights how simple dietary modifications may produce substantial health benefits, and I look forward to the opportunity to network with other scientists and build bridges across different scientific disciplines.”

Juhi is working on chemical interventions that can protect cancer patients from serious side effects of radiotherapy. On  presenting  her  science  in  Parliament,  she said,  “It  is an incredibly  prestigious  opportunity for an international  researcher  like  myself  to  showcase my  research  work  to UK parliamentarians  at  a  national  level. I am very excited to be selected among the top 10 and also delighted to have my local MP, Paul Blomfield (Labour Party, Sheffield) attend the event and discuss the importance of my research work. The highlight of the event for me is definitely the opportunity to network with brilliant researchers from different disciplines of research in the UK.’’



BRS celebrates 65 years of excellence in bone research 24 March 2015

The Bone Research Society started life as the Bone and Tooth Society on 24 March 1950, and has been supporting and providing a forum for bone researchers ever since!

To celebrate this Blue Sapphire anniversay, we are compiling a history of the Society and need your help! So if you have any old BATS/BRS stories, old meeting programmes/abstracts or milestones in bone research that you presented at BATS/BRS meetings then please contact the Secretary, Allie Gartland.


We'll be running a social media campaign over the coming months to celebrate members' achievements over the past 65 years. So please follow us on Facebook and or Twitter and tell us of your BATS/BRS memories via #BRSis65.

Origins of Bone and Cartilage Disease Initiative 24 March 2015

The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) is generating knockout mouse strains for each of the >20,000 protein coding genes and these knockout strains are available to the whole research community via public repositories. The “Origins of Bone and Cartilage Disease” initiative has been funded by a 5-year Wellcome Trust Strategic Award which aims to: (i) identify genetic determinants of bone and cartilage disorders, (ii) establish the molecular mechanisms underlying the onset and progression of bone and cartilage diseases, (iii) translate advances in understanding to human disease, (iv) promote scientific collaboration and research training in skeletal biology and (v) ensure wide dissemination of new knowledge and resources

The Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory at Imperial College London (Graham Williams and Duncan Bassett) and the Bone Biology Laboratory at the Garvan Institute in Sydney (Peter Croucher) have developed rapid throughput bone and joint phenotyping methods (see here) and will screen all IMPC knockout mice generated at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre.  In order to translate gene discovery in the mouse to human disease rapidly, collaborations with consortia studying bone density, fracture and osteoarthritis in human populations have been established.  The bone and joint phenotype data will be made rapidly available to the research community via the IMPC website

This Strategic Award also funds the Molecular Endocrinology and Bone Biology Laboratories to undertake detailed phenotype and mechanistic analysis in selected knockout lines with the most interesting and severe skeletal phenotypes. 


A tribute to Dr Neil Mackenzie 29 January 2015

It is with great sadness and shock that the BRS has learned of the tragic and untimely death of Neil in a climbing accident in British Columbia, Canada.  Neil was killed with two friends in a fall on Mount Joffre on 11th January. 

Neil was an enthusiastic contributor to the life of the BRS and an excellent, promising young scientist.  He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2005 and undertook his PhD at the University of Dundee/Roslin Institute before working for several years as a post-doc at the Roslin Institute with Vicky MacRae.  His main interests involved mechanisms of vascular calcification, particularly the role of phosphate homeostasis and pyrophosphate/phosphate regulation in bone and the vasculature.  He had recently taken up a position as a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Blood Research in the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.     

His growing renown as a researcher was reflected in awards from the BRS including a young investigator award and a Barbara Mawer travelling fellowship.  In 2014, he was recognised by the ASBMR with a John Haddad Young Investigator Award for his work on the role of Cathepsin K in vascular matrix mineralization.  His infectious enthusiasm for research led him to serve in the past as a Young Investigator representative on the BRS Committee.  As Neil had said himself, he was keen to give something back to the Society and to help the BRS increase its value to our younger members.

Neil had a passion for life and especially mountaineering which, in part, took him out to Vancouver.  His love for being in the mountains was a strong driver in his life.  He was a friend and colleague to many.  He will be remembered very fondly and will be greatly missed.

OBE for former BRS President Cyrus Cooper 29 January 2015

Professor Cyrus Cooper, Director of the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, at the University of Oxford has been awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to Medical Research. Prof Cooper, a BRS member and Past President, commented "I’m surprised and delighted to be recognised with this very special honour. I am fortunate to have been involved in working on the causes and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders, a major cause of ill health and disability."