Project information

Understanding Osteoporosis 2014 Research Programme

Our goal is to better understand the prevalence and impact of osteoporosis in the UK on older people and how to treat it. Through academic and medical research we will learn more about the causes of the disease, the devastating long-term effects of fractures and discover and test treatments to help.

Our research programme is ongoing

Charity information

National Osteoporosis Society

National Osteoporosis Society logo
  • Need


    Osteoporosis causes the inner bone tissue to weaken which makes bones very fragile and susceptible to fracture. The condition is so common that one in two women and one in five men, over 50, will break a bone due to poor bone health. Despite this, research into the causes and effects of the disease is hugely under-resourced, receiving less than a fraction of 1% of the UK's medical research spend. Consequently, we still know relatively little about the causes and prevalence of the disease.


    In the last 20 years, we have spent over £3 million on research into causes, effects and treatments of osteoporosis. We annually commit £250,000 to a variety of research projects to help us better understand the condition. Two of the the projects we will be funding this year are: "the effects of postural taping on pain management" and "the epidemiology of osteoporosis in the UK" at a combined cost of £99,002.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Whether postural taping reduces pain and improves posture in spinal compression fracture patients.


    » Recruit 40 people diagnosed with an osteoporotic vertebral fracture through the Bristol NHS Trust to participate. 20 have already been recruited.
    » After completing a questionnaire about their pain, disability and treatment, 20 recruits will wear the postural taping device for four weeks.
    » 3D motion capture will be used to measure any changes in posture and movement at the start and end of the research to help assess the devices effects.
    » Results will be analysed to determine whether any positive effect is achieved through wearing the device and what further research is needed.

    If the postural taping is found to make a difference, it has the potential to offer a non-medicinal, pain management alternative for people suffering with spinal fractures.

    Aim 2

    To better understand the full impact of osteoporosis and fragility fractures in the UK.


    » Analysis of several large UK patient databases to give an accurate epidemiology of osteoporosis, prevalence of osteoporosis and fracture numbers
    » A full segmentation of fracture patients by ethnicity, geography, age, sex and fracture type to give us accurate statistics to inform our strategy.

    A greater knowledge of the full impact of osteoporosis in the UK will enable us to project future impact, inform our future strategy and give us the stats needed to influence Govt.

  • Impact


    By better understanding the causes, effects and treatments for osteoporosis, we will be better equipped to develop a needs-led strategy for our beneficiaries and have the tools and information necessary to ensure they receive the best care possible. Long term success will be defined by a reduction in the number of fragility fractures in the UK.


    The risk of research projects not meeting the needs of the charity is overcome by a stringent application process. Our research projects are all peer reviewed and assessed by the clinical and scientific committee to ensure they are of the highest standard in terms of scientific method and they meet the strategic goals of the charity.


    All the research projects we fund are committed to providing a report at the end of their project, which we use to provide updates to donors.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £99,002

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £79,304 Epidemiology of Osteoporosis measuring the prevalence and effects of osteoporosis in the UK.
      £19,698 Postural taping research Determining the effects of postural taping on pain and posture on patients with spinal fractures

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Trusts and Foundations £4,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The postural taping research will take place at the University of the West of England in partnership with the North Bristol NHS Springboard Trust.

    The epidemiology research will take place at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and will cover the whole of the UK.


    Depending on the findings of the postural taping research, there is potential for people with spinal compression fractures to benefit from the properties of the device which is already on the market.

    Osteoporosis is significantly more prevalent with age and tends to affect more women than men, but the beneficiaries of our projects are diverse in terms of geography, wealth, and ethnicity and will all benefit from us having a better understanding of the condition.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) - a body set up to ensure that charities fund medical research effectively and within guideline parameters. The AMRC is seen as a mark of quality and gives charities credibility that can reassure funders that their money will be spent wisely. The Charity supports the AMRC position on using animals in medical research. The AMRC have awarded us a certificate of best practice for our research programme.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Professor Tjeerd Van Staa

    Chair in Pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Professor van Staa will be leading the epidemiology research.

    Professor Shea Palmer, University Of The West Of England

    Lead researcher into the effects of postural taping on pain and posture for people who have suffered osteoporotic spinal fractures.