Thursday, December 13, 2012

[198] Participant in MTSU bone density study calls it 'easy,' 'simple' to improve health

Participant in MTSU bone density study calls it ‘easy,’ ‘simple’ to improve health

FOR RELEASE: Dec. 11, 2012
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081,

MURFREESBORO—Mary Belle Ginanni says her body type, gender, family history and European heritage make her a candidate for osteoporosis.

That’s why she took part in the bone density study, which is seeking more participants now at MTSU’s Alumni Memorial Gym.

“As we age, loss of balance is a major factor in falling, and, therefore, exercise is thought to help one to maintain balance,” said Ginanni, a Murfreesboro resident.

However, Saori Ishikawa, an MTSU graduate student, took the opposite approach to her research. Instead of studying the impact of exercise, she decided to examine the impact of sedentary behavior on bone density.

Ishikawa, who is working on her doctorate from the Department of Health and Human Performance, is studying postmenopausal women 65 years of age or older who are able to walk with or without the use of assistive devices.

With each participant, Ishikawa records height and weight, asks a few health-related questions, and scans the lumbar spine and the femoral neck area of the hip with a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry machine, all at no charge to the participant. Ginanni’s visit to campus took about 30 minutes.

“I couldn’t believe how easy it turned out to be,” Ginanni recalled. “The gizmo which one wears over the hip bone of the dominant hip is very small and caused no problem at all with my clothing.”

Participants document the times they take part in certain sedentary behaviors, including sleeping, lying down to watch TV, non-work-related sitting and work-related sitting.

“My study is an intervention where I communicate with the participants … and measure their activity level and sedentary behavior at the beginning and at the end of the study,” Ishikawa said.

Ishikawa’s recommendations are not for vigorous, intense exercise, but for moderate lifestyle changes such as walking while talking on the phone or washing dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher.

“Such simple things as standing on one foot while in a checkout line or while standing at the sink is a good way to improve balance,” said Ginanni. “If necessary, touch a finger to the counter for reassurance.

To volunteer for the free bone health study, or for more information, contact Ishikawa at 615-898-5545, 774-240-7517 or


PHOTOS INCLUDED: 1) MTSU graduate student Saori Ishikawa prepares Mary Belle Ginanni for a bone density scan.
2) Images of an unnamed patient’s lumbar spine and hip scans help determine her degree of vulnerability to fractures and osteoporosis.

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