Date of Award

Spring 1993

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering


Most of us expect to grow old surrounded by friends and family, keeping active and productive well into our later years. Advances in public health, nutrition and medicine have increased the life expectancies of men and women thereby improving the likelihood of achieving such a goal. As youngsters and young adults we imagine that reaching the eightieth or ninetieth decade assures a fulfillment of our dreams. The reality that eventually we all must face is that illness and disease increasingly become companions to the elderly population. Chronic illnesses along with the pain and cost associated with them can diminish the enjoyment of life and weaken the spirit and will to thrive. A thrust of medicine in the last fifty years has conquer major illnesses and killers including polio, smallpox, measles, diphtheria, cholera, heart disease, cancer, and most recently AIDS. The reduction of the incidence of these and other diseases which attack and kill large numbers of people is important. The impact of cures or reductions in deaths from smallpox or heart disease is both immediate and great. Ironically, the act of relieving a large number of people from early death has presented science and medicine with an older population with combinations of chronic conditions associated with the aging process. Osteoporosis, or the decrease in bone density leading to fractures of the wrist, spine, and hip, is one of the conditions which affects the health and the standard of living of many older individuals. The disease primarily attacks women following menopause and also men and women beginning at about age seventy. The disease process is gradual and cumulative, eventually manifesting itself as a fracture of the spine, hip, or wrist...



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