McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Better bone health focus of new chair

Published: January 24, 2006
Family Medicine Photo
Dr. Rick Adachi, a professor of medicine in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, is the inaugural chairholder of the Alliance for Better Bone Health Chair in Rheumatology
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that affects 1.4 million Canadians. Bone fractures caused by osteoporosis are a major cause of pain, disability and death. It is twice to three times more prevalent in women than in men and its incidence increases with age. For women, the 1-in-6 lifetime risk of hip fracture is greater than the 1-in-9 risk of developing breast cancer, and the death rate associated with hip fracture is higher.

Dorothy Arkell, 86, of Brantford, has had several bone fractures and lost five and a half inches in height since she was diagnosed with osteoporosis about 10 years ago. Despite being very active in her younger years, and "doing everything right" in terms of her health, osteoporosis struck anyway, causing her a great deal of pain and inconvenience.

But since being referred to Dr. Rick Adachi a rheumatologist at McMaster University three years ago for treatment, she hasn’t had any fractures and the trial medications she’s taking have helped lessen the pain.

McMaster University announced today the creation of a new endowed research chair which will promote education and research in osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

The Alliance for Better Bone Health Chair in Rheumatology will be held by Dr. Jonathan (Rick) Adachi, 50, a professor of medicine in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University, director of the Hamilton Arthritis Centre, and head of rheumatology at St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton.

The chair is being supported by the Alliance for Better Bone Health, a partnership between P&G Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and the sanofi aventis Group

Arkell praised Dr. Adachi as a compassionate and encouraging physician who has brought about a definite change for the better in her life. "Right from the very beginning you could tell that he was somebody who really cared, and understands what you’re going through," she said. "He has really helped me."

David Kirk, 58, also attests to the talents and knowledge of Dr. Adachi. Kirk was diagnosed seven years ago with osteoporosis, when it was discovered he had only one-half of the expected bone density of a man his age. He's been a patient of Dr. Adachi's for the past five years, and has recently been told his bone density has improved to the point where he would no longer be considered osteoporotic.

"One of the things Dr. Adachi is always trying to do is get the message out that osteoporosis affects men, too," said Kirk, who lives in a rural area outside of Brantford.

Kirk will continue to take medications prescribed by Dr. Adachi, and take part in regular exercise such as swimming and walking, in order to maintain a healthy bone density level.

"Currently we are studying the architecture of bone in normal and osteoporotic individuals. By understanding the underlying structural design of bone, we may be able to better predict who will fracture," says Dr. Adachi.

"With osteoporosis, we are interested in seeing the effects of different therapies on bone architecture. This may be important in explaining the differences seen in fracture rate reduction. This research is currently being done with peripheral CT scanning and peripheral MRI.

"The architecture of subchondral bone (cartilage) may also be important in explaining the development of osteoarthritis. At present, we are examining this hypothesis in the osteoarthritis research program. This has been examined by using peripheral MRI, texture analysis of X-rays and through peripheral CT scanning."

A graduate of McMaster’s medical program (1979), and a specialist in internal medicine (1983) and rheumatology (1984), Adachi is a member of Osteoporosis Canada and the International Osteoporosis Foundation. He has conducted many clinical trials in osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and has published extensively on a wide variety of therapies for the prevention and treatment of corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis.

He has co-authored many systematic reviews of a wide variety of osteoporosis therapies and has participated in the development of guidelines for the treatment of primary and corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis in Canada.

"Patients and health-care providers are at the heart of everything we do," says Jeff Davis, General Manager, P&G Pharmaceuticals Canada. "As a leader in osteoporosis, the Alliance is committed to investing in research and innovation that will help deliver improved patient outcomes. Dr. Adachi is internationally recognized for his expertise and contribution to osteoporosis research and we are delighted to be able to support this important work."

John Kelton, dean and vice-president, Faculty of Health Sciences, and dean of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, says: "Bone disease affects more Canadians than any other disability. Among these, osteoporosis sadly targets the elderly and especially women. This chair will help to improve their quality of life. "

Osteoporosis Fact Sheet:


About The Alliance for Better Bone Health

The Alliance for Better Bone Health was formed by Procter & Gamble and Aventis, now a member of the sanofi aventis Group, in May 1997 to promote bone health and disease awareness through numerous activities that support physicians and patients around the globe.

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