Tishya Wren, PhD, director of research for the John C. Wilson, Jr., Motion Analysis Lab at the Saban Research Institute of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study bone development in children with myelomeningocele, the most severe type of spina bifida, according to a press release.
This 5-year study will be carried out in collaboration with colleagues at the Childrens Orthopaedic Center and the Childrens Imaging Research Program.
“Children and adolescents with spina bifida tend to have more leg fractures than their peers,” Wren stated in the release. “We know that the greatest accumulation of bone mass occurs around the time adolescents reach puberty. What we don’t know is whether or not adolescents with spina bifida have differences in bone development resulting from their disease or if they’re developing less bone mass because they’re spending less time doing weight-bearing activities like standing, walking and running.”
When these questions have been answered, pediatricians will know if they should encourage patients to push through the physical and emotional barriers and keep struggling to walk if it means amassing more bone and increasing their lifelong ability to avoid leg fractures.