Prevention of osteoporosis by pulsed electromagnetic fields.
Rubin CT, McLeod KJ, Lanyon LE.
Musculo-Skeletal Research Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedics, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794.
Using an animal model, we examined the use of pulsed electromagnetic fields, induced at a physiological frequency and intensity, to prevent the osteoporosis that is concomitant with disuse. By protecting the left ulnae of turkeys from functional loading, we noted a loss of bone of 13.0 per cent compared with the intact contralateral control ulnae over an eight-week experimental period. Using a treatment regimen of one hour per day of pulsed electromagnetic fields, we observed an osteogenic dose-response to induced electrical power, with a maximum osteogenic effect between 0.01 and 0.04 tesla per second. Pulse power levels of more or less than these levels were less effective. The maximum osteogenic response was obtained by a decrease in the level of intracortical remodeling, inhibition of endosteal resorption, and stimulation of both periosteal and endosteal new-bone formation. These data suggest that short daily periods of exposure to appropriate electromagnetic fields can beneficially influence the behavior of the cell populations that are responsible for bone-remodeling, and that there is an effective window of induced electrical power in which bone mass can be controlled in the absence of mechanical loading.