Research Progress Related to Osteoporosis

The NIAMS leads the federal research effort on osteoporosis. Scientists at universities, medical centers, and other research institutions across the United States who are funded by the NIAMS and other National Institutes of Health (NIH) entities are pursuing a wide range of basic and clinical studies on osteoporosis.

These include studies on:

  • Bone composition, structure, and function to help understand bone loss.
  • New treatments for osteoporosis.
  • The influence of genetics on the development of osteoporosis.
  • The impact of environmental risk factors.
  • Prevention of osteoporosis.

Some key areas of osteoporosis research supported by the NIAMS and its partners at the NIH are described below.

Genetic Studies

Researchers continue to define genetic differences that underlie variation in bone formation, maintenance, and turnover. Applying the findings of genome-wide association studies to identify new molecular pathways related to bone health and disease may lead to new ways to prevent bone loss and fractures.

Bone Cell Biology

Scientists are studying the cells that control bone remodeling to learn more about the underlying causes of osteoporosis and to identify possible new therapeutic targets. Over the past several years, researchers have made considerable progress in understanding connections between bone physiology and the broader network of biologic processes involving many different organs and tissues. Scientists are working to explain the connection between the skeleton and the nervous system; other tissues such as fat, muscle, cartilage; the immune system; digestion and nutrition, including the role of the microbiome; and energy metabolism.

Study of Osteoporotic Fractures

The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures was supported by the NIAMS and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and was a multicenter study of more than 10,000 postmenopausal women. It provides comprehensive data about multiple risk factors for osteoporosis-related fractures. This study, which began in 1986, has provided the foundation for developing ways to identify people at greatest risk for osteoporosis and fractures decades in advance, and thus has greatly aided disease prevention efforts.

Osteoporosis in Men

The NIAMS, in partnership with the NIA and the National Cancer Institute, funded a multicenter study focusing on osteoporosis in men. The Osteoporosis in Men study enrolled 6,000 men age 65 years and older, and has identified significant risk factors for osteoporosis, falls, and fractures in men.

For more info

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Website: (en inglés)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics

Website: (en inglés)

National Institute on Aging Information Center, National Institutes of Health

Website: (en inglés)

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Website: (en inglés)

American Society for Bone and Mineral Research

Website: (en inglés)

Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation

Website: (en inglés)

U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative

Website: (en inglés)

If you need more information about available resources in your language or other languages, please visit our webpages below or contact the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at You can also find a variety of information from organizations that are NIAMS Coalition Members.