Michigan Bone Health & Metabolism Study (MBHMS Bone Strength)

Changes in Periosteal and Endocortical Width Across the Menopausal Transition

The 34-year MBHMS follows the daughters of participants in the historic Tecumseh Community Health Study to evaluate the impact of aging-related processes including menopause and the secular increase in obesity on the development and progression of musculoskeletal disease and declines in physical functioning.

For women, the menopausal transition (MT) is a critical period of decline in bone strength, during which about half the lifetime loss in bone mineral density (BMD) occurs. While clinically, and in research, BMD is the primary indicator for osteoporosis, it does not reveal the changes in bone structure needed to fully understand age-related loss in strength. This project will better elucidate the structural changes that underlie loss in strength during the MT by examining relative changes in endocortical expansion (bone loss) versus periosteal expansion (bone gain). These two features define bone strength, but the manner in which each of these structural indices changes during the MT is largely unexplored. Our central hypothesis is that bone strength declines earlier and more rapidly in women with wide bones compared to women with narrow bones.

This study addresses a significant gap in scientific knowledge that impedes our ability to optimize fracture prevention strategies. If our hypotheses prove correct, baseline external bone size may be used as an additional parameter to identify women most likely to lose bone strength rapidly during the MT and who might benefit from early intervention.

Key Personnel

  • Karl Jepsen, PhD, Principal Investigator
  • Siobán D. Harlow, PhD, Co-Investigator
  • Carrie Karvonen-Gutierrez, MPH, PhD, Co-Investigator
  • Daniel S. McConnell, PhD, Laboratory Director
  • Kerry McCullough, Project Director
  • John Lien, MD, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Gregory Clines, MD, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine (Metabolism, Endo & Diabetes)
  • Tom Richards, MPH, Research Area Specialist Associate
  • Erin Bigelow, Research Lab Specialist Senior
  • Robert Goulet, Research Computer Specialist
  • Aleda Leis, MPH, Trainee
  • Mia (Qing) Peng, Trainee
  • Wade Sanders, Trainee
  • Jaimee Gauthier, Research Project Manager


These are the most recent news items for the Michigan Bone Health & Metabolism Study (MBHMS Bone Strength). View all Center news.

IN THE NEWS: Michigan Bone Health and Metabolism Study (MBHMS) featured in Tecumseh Herald story “Tecumseh: ‘a remarkable partner’”
“It’s one of the largest studies of mid-life women that have been followed for this period of time... Tecumseh as a community has just been a remarkable partner and resource, and really has contributed so very much science, both through Michigan Bone Health and Metabolism but also through it’s predecessor, the Tecumseh Community Health Study” — Carrie Karvonen-Gutierrez, MPH, PhD
Read more at The Significance of the Tecumseh Community Health Study
Posted: September 17 2019