New Research Study Focuses on Novel Treatment of Low Bone Mass in Crohn's Disease


Crohn's disease is an idiopathic, lifelong, destructive chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Children with Crohn's disease have numerous risk factors for poor bone accretion, including growth failure, delayed puberty, malnutrition, glucocorticoid therapy and inflammation.

Children's Hospital investigators have shown previously that children with Crohn's disease have fractures and low bone mass. There are no therapies currently approved to treat low bone mass in children.

Hospital investigators will test a potential new therapy with the aid of a $2.9 million award from the National Institutes of Health to Mary B. Leonard, Division of Nephrology. Dr. Leonard, along with Robert N. Baldassano, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and several other colleagues will study the use of low-magnitude mechanical stimuli (LMMS) as an anabolic therapy to improve bone health in children with Crohn's disease.

LMMS is a biomechanical therapy that provides thousands of tiny microstrains to the skeleton while the child stands on a vibrating platform. This 12-month clinical study will evaluate daily, in-home, 10-minute treatments with LMMS in 160 patients from the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Children's Hospital.

This study is the first trial of a non-pharmacologic intervention to improve bone health in children with chronic inflammatory diseases. If this intervention proves safe and effective, it will provide an important way to prevent osteoporosis in these children that are proven to be at high risk for fractures and life-long bone disease.