Bone Health Research Program

bone cell image

Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes rapid, severe osteoporosis, greatly increasing the risk of lower extremity bone fractures. Understanding the development of SCI osteoporosis, and developing the best therapies and protocols for preserving and restoring bone health is the focus of the Bone Health Research Program. The program is directed by Dr. Leslie Morse, DO.

FES-Rowing v. Zoledronic Acid to Improve Bone Health in SCI: A Comparative Clinical Trial
Leslie Morse, DO, PI
People with serious spinal cord injuries run a high risk of bone fractures due to rapid bone loss. This study aims to see if adapted rowing, using electrical stimulation of the leg muscles, can affect that risk. Participants enroll in a year-long regime of rowing. Half the participants also receive zoledronic acid, which stops or slows osteoporotic bone loss. Blood, DXA scans, and CT scans are used for comparative analyses of bone turnover markers, density and micro-architecture. Another part of the study examines the impact of rowing on cardiac function and structure in people with SCI.  The study is funded by the Department of Defense, with the cardiac component funded by the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT). The VA Boston Healthcare, Spaulding’s Cardiovascular Laboratory, and MGH collaborate on the study.


Adiposity and Bone Loss in Spinal Cord Injury
Leslie Morse, DO, PI
This NIH-funded study examines the role that stored central (visceral) fat plays in bone loss following spinal cord injury.  The study looks at the impact of various factors on bone health, including bone turnover markers, exercise, and lifestyle habits. It involves a questionnaire, bone density scans, and blood samples. Open to people with SCI, it is done in collaboration with the VA Boston Healthcare.


Longitudinal Assessment of Fracture Risk (LAF)
Leslie Morse, DO, PI
Following the bone health of people with SCI, both acute and chronic, this study aims to profile and build understanding of the long-term bone health and fracture history of individuals with SCI. An extensive questionnaire, bone density scans, and blood samples allow longitudinal understanding of the impact of various factors on bone health, including exercise and lifestyle habits.


Sclerostin Mediated Bone Loss in Acute SCI
Leslie Morse, DO, PI
This study examines the role played by specific bone-related proteins in bone loss during the acute phase of SCI.  Participants are asked to make 5 visits over a 3-year period.  Each visit includes a questionnaire, bone density scan, and a blood draw.

You guys are awesome!

Kim B.

Connect with us