Black bear femoral porosity decreases and mechanical properties increase with age despite annual periods of disuse (hibernation)

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Inactivity causes bone loss, and a remobilization period that is 2-3 times longer than the disuse period is required to recover lost bone. Black bears (Ursus americanus), however, experience annual disuse (hibernation) and active periods that are approximately equal in length, but maintain bone material properties with age. Here, the effects of annual hibernation periods on whole bone properties were investigated. This study shows that mineral, geometrical and whole bone mechanical properties increase with age in black bear femurs, whereas porosity decreases with age. These results provide further support that black bears possess a biological mechanism to avoid disuse osteoporosis. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Engineering Fracture Mechanics