Hip fractures are among the most devastating incidents in our expanding elderly population. Statistics says that half of women and one-fifth of men will experience such fractures between 50-80 years of age. The odds of survival are equally grim, and those who survive face disability and a general decrease in quality of life. Dr. René Rizzoli approaches this problem from a Swiss perspective. Coming from one of the countries with the longest life expectancy worldwide, Rizzoli points out that the economic burden of osteoporosis-related complications is on par with cardiovascular disease and cancer. The root of osteoporosis stems from dysregulation of the IGF-1 signaling cascade. Rizzoli examines how the IGF-1 pathway is affected by dietary protein intake and takes a look at the latest clinical evidence.
Carefully controlled studies in humans illustrate the benefits of protein supplements in patients with hip and femur fractures, findings which have been echoed by the results from animal studies. These data strengthen the dietary guidelines encouraging sufficient protein intake amongst older people. Rizzoli finishes on a positive note by describing the reversal of the hip fracture trend in elderly women in the Geneva region over the last 20 years.