Detection of calcium isotope in the urine is able to detect bone disease


The U.S. space agency, NASA, funded a study to identify bone loss in an urine test. Until now these tests were performed almost exclusively by exams using natural or artificial sources of ionizing radiation. In contrast, the urine test would eliminate the need to expose the patient to radiation. The method measured the loss of bone mass in dozens of healthy volunteers who were placed in a continuous period of rest in bed for 30 days. In this condition, it is possible to simulate on earth the loss of gravity in space, causing the loss of bone mass. The new urine test, which measures the calcium isotopes by mass spectrometry, was able to detect loss of bone mass in 10 days after started the rest period. With this, it is likely that, in a near future, the diagnosis of bone diseases may be done by urine test, without the need of patients undergoing x-rays or use artificial markers.

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