The musculoskeletal science area at the IHA has a strong focus on clinical research where findings have direct relevance to lifestyle factors and clinical practice. Clinical research in this area is led by Professor Kerrie Sanders who has an international reputation in osteoporosis and fracture prevention. Although hip fractures are generally associated with the most serious health consequences, the significant decline in health-related quality of life associated with fractures at other sites is being increasing recognised. Findings from recent projects at IHA have highlighted the importance of strategies to effectively prevent all fractures not only hip fractures.
In addition to establishing the cost and quality of life burden of fractures in older Australians, IHA’s musculoskeletal unit also investigates the role of exercise and nutrition in bone and muscle health. Research into the role of vitamin D sufficiency offers many clues to promoting musculoskeletal health in an ageing population. Most fractures occur when an older person falls. By focussing on both muscle and bone health, research findings can identify strategies to help maintain both muscle and bone mass with healthy ageing and thereby delay the onset of frailty in the oldest sector of our population. The research done by the musculoskeletal team is of a high international standard and in collaboration with both national and international experts in osteoporosis and ageing.