Virtual Stress Testing for Osteoporosis Assessment: From Bench to Bedside

VPHi webinar

This webinar of the VPHi Keynote Webinar Series took place on 27 April 2022 featuring Prof Tony M. Keaveny from the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, University of California (Berkeley) under the moderation of Mojtaba Barzegari member of the VPHi Student Committee.


The Surgeon General of the United States defines osteoporosis as “a skeletal disorder characterized by compromised bone strength, predisposing to an increased risk of fracture.” While osteoporosis is well recognized as a widespread, growing, and serious clinical problem across the world, it remains highly under-diagnosed and under-treated. Part of the challenge is that the clinical standard for diagnostic testing, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), is not sufficiently used given the large number of affected individuals. Furthermore, DXA only provides a planar measurement of “areal” bone mineral density, thus missing important physiological details relevant to assessing bone strength and risk of fracture. Addressing these issues, over the past 30 years, some in academia have developed the ability to use computed tomography (CT) scans to develop patient-specific finite element models to virtually stress test bones in order to measure bone strength. In translating that technology to a clinical setting, we have named this generic technology “biomechanical computed tomography analysis” (BCT). In this presentation, Prof Tony M. Keaveny reviews the work done by his group at UC Berkeley, and at a commercial spin-out, to develop and validate this technology and then translate it into a validated clinical diagnostic test that can be used in patient care. In doing so, he will review some basic-science aspects of bone biomechanics that feed into development of these models, insight gained from high-resolution micro-CT-based finite element analyses of whole bones, the unique challenges of dealing with reduced-resolution CT scans that are typical in clinical practice, and the clinical evidence that supports efficacy. While specific to analysis of bones for assessment of osteoporosis, the lessons learned from developing this computational-mechanics technology are broadly relevant.


This webinar belongs to the VPHi keynote webinar series, a quarterly event organized by the VPHi Student Committee that provides a forum for access to senior community members and their expert competence for chiefly young scientists, but also to the VPH community as a whole.

With the series, VPHi wishes to:

  • Offer added value to prospective young scientist VPHi Student members through core content
  • Create visibility of VPH knowledge dissemination for external stakeholders
  • Highlight excellence within the VPHi, additionally providing student members with a label of quality
  • Promote scientific interaction between junior and senior community members and across VPHi disciplines


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