Research Alert

Skeletal fragility can affect people of all ages, whether it be young military recruits at risk for stress fractures, astronauts at risk for bone loss in space or adults at risk for osteoporotic fractures due to weakening of bones with age. In this article, Army researchers provide a new conceptual framework that explains how bones respond to stresses in the environment. Specifically, the authors leverage recent advances in bone research to highlight the central role of osteocyte. These cells act as the central command and control center for sensing the need for change and directing other types of bone cells to make that change happen. The theory helps focus the attention of researchers seeking ways to make bones stronger on the osteocyte. This approach may lead to genuine benefits for military recruits and others who might suffer the consequences of bone fragility. DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions or policies of the Department of Army, Department of Defense, or the US Government.