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Fwd: Vibrations Shown to Build Bone, Reduce Fat : NPR

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  • Reese
    I was going through some stuff I don t normally look at and found this. Wasn t there a discussion about a vibrating platform for humans, here not long ago?
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2008
      I was going through some stuff I don't normally look at and found
      this. Wasn't there a discussion about a vibrating platform for
      humans, here not long ago?




      Vibrations Shown to Build Bone, Reduce Fat

      by Joe Palca

      Morning Edition, October 29, 2007 ยท Standing on a gently vibrating
      platform for 15 minutes a day can build bone mass and reduce fat in
      mice, according to a new study. The changes are due to a stem cell in
      bone marrow that can become muscle, bone or fat. Testing has begun in

      Biomedical engineer Clinton Rubin said he didn't start out intending to
      make lean mice.

      "In my scientific heritage, I'm more of a bone head," Rubin said. "I
      study a bone disease called osteoporosis, or bone-wasting."

      But fat and bone are cellular cousins โ€” the same stem cell that's a
      precursor to bone cells is also a precursor to fat cells.

      Rubin said scientists have known for a good long while that bones that
      get a lot of shaking tend to get larger. Tennis players are a perfect

      For instance, "Roger Federer would have 35 percent more bone on his
      playing arm than his non-playing arm," Rubin said.

      But even a small amount of vibrating will do.

      The theory for why vibrations affect bone mass is that somehow the
      bone-marrow stem cell senses the motion and begins turning itself into
      bone to better tolerate the jiggling.

      If that theory is true, Rubin thought, then it could have another
      implication: "If a precursor cell is deciding to become bone, maybe it
      isn't becoming fat."

      So he and his colleagues at the State University of New York in Stony
      Brook set up an experiment in which they gave two groups of mice
      identical diets. But one group was put on a gently vibrating platform
      for 15 minutes a day.

      When he measured the body fat of the group that got the daily jiggling,
      Rubin said, "Sure enough, they had 30 percent, 27 percent, less fat 15
      weeks later."

      And the mice also had stronger bones, as Rubin reported in the
      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

      Scientists are about to launch a similar study in humans. Douglas Kiel
      works at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew Senior Life in
      Boston, where subjects will soon get 10 minutes of jiggling a day.

      "People stand on a platform" that vibrates, Kiel said. "And since we're
      enrolling seniors, we also have a little bar to grab onto for safety."

      Kiel's colleague Mary Bouxsein, of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
      Center in Boston, says the vibrations are quite mild.

      "You do feel something," Bouxsein said. "But you're not being, you know,
      jolted around as if you need to hold on and you might falls off. It's
      really a quite minor stimulation."

      Bouxsein said she and Kiel initially were only hoping the vibrations
      would improve bone growth. But now they're planning to see if there are
      any changes in body fat as well. Since she can't feed her subjects
      identical diets, she doesn't have high hopes for seeing a big difference.

      And it's not as if she's opposed to people getting their vibrations by
      walking, running or something a little more aerobic.

      "But if we had something that was, you know, very simple โ€” you stand on
      this platform for 15 minutes a day and it may improve your
      musculoskeletal health, as well as cause you to weigh less or have less
      fat โ€” that's pretty interesting or intriguing," Bouxsein said.

      One important thing to note is that the vibrations do not remove fat
      cells. Rubin said that once fat cells form, they tend to stick around.
      And vibrating won't get rid of them.

      "If you have a fat mouse, in order to get rid of the fat, you need to
      metabolize it, just as we've all learned," Rubin said. "You need to get
      those mice out running marathons or pumping iron, or whatever it is that
      mice do to reduce their fat mass."

      Scientists are pretty clear that the techniques for reducing fat mass
      will work in humans, too.
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