Could Sound Therapy Be The Cure For Osteoporosis?

Scientists are testing a radical new way to fight the bone disease osteoporosis. Could the sound therapy method help millions of sufferers?

Millions of people suffering from osteoporosis—a disease that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break—could be cured by having a ‘quiet musical note’ played to stem cells in their body, coaxing them to slow down and reverse the effects of the serious condition.

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow are pioneering this groundbreaking development in ‘nanokicking’ therapy, which transforms stem cells by blasting them with low frequency vibrations.

The possibilities of nanokicking (so called because very low amplitude vibrations ‘kick’ the stem cells) were discovered in 2013 by Scottish researchers who were searching for a way to turn stem cells into bone cells. They discovered that a quiet internal hum of around 1000Hz would do the trick.

Trial Period

A small trial of the new therapy is now underway at the National Spinal Injuries Unit at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital and, if successful, it could have broad implications for methods to treat bone diseases, particularly osteoporosis.

“The lab-based experiments on stem cells have been remarkably repeatable across several labs in the UK and the trial will investigate whether it will work in patients,” said Professor Stuart Reid, from the University of Strathclyde, who helped develop the technology.

Around three million people in the UK suffer from osteoporosis, leading to 500,000 broken bones each year. Processes already exist to combat the condition, but these are expensive and complex. Nanokicking, if successful, is revolutionary for its simplicity and accessibility.

“If we get positive results then there will be an immediate scale-up of the project and we will see how we can roll this out for the benefit of the wider population,” Professor Reid said.


Osteoporosis causes bones to become thin and porous, which decreases bone strength and leads to an increased risk of breaks. One in three women and one in five men will suffer from osteoporosis in their lifetime. Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than incidents of heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer combined.

The condition is difficult to detect until a patient has suffered a broken bone, at which point doctors will be able to advise about the loss of bone mass. However, it’s possible that there may have been so much bone mass lost by this time that it is difficult to treat. That’s why the potential that of nanokicking to reverse the effects of osteoporosis is so encouraging.

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