The following information is taken from the BBC website.
Nasa scientists believe they have found a way to spot osteoporosis bone loss at the earliest disease stages
Currently, the condition can go undetected for years and may only be diagnosed with scans after weakening of the bones has led to a fracture.
The new test - designed partly with astronauts in mind as they too can suffer bone loss due to the microgravity of space - looks for traces of bone calcium in the urine. The work is published in PNAS journal.
The technique developed by scientists at Arizona State University working with the US space agency analyses calcium isotopes - different atoms of the element calcium, derived from bone and each with their own specific number of neutrons.
The balance or abundance of these different isotopes changes when bone is destroyed and formed and can therefore indicate early changes in bone density.
Dr Nicola Peel, CSA member for Osteoporosis Dorset said: "It is always exciting to see new techniques being developed with the potential to increase our understanding of the evolution and mechanism of bone disease. This approach of using calcium isotopes is very interesting and appears to have potential to detect very early changes of bone loss. This could therefore have a future role in the clinical evaluation of patients."
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