GCA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GCA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Crumbling spine in osteoporosis. Coloured magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of a spine with a compression fracture of one vertebra (spine bone) due to bone weakening by osteoporosis. The body of a vertebra (centre left) has collapsed, causing abnormal outward curvature of the spine (left). Osteoporosis is the loss of protein tissue inside bone, which makes bones brittle and liable to fracture. The condition is a natural part of aging and leads on average to a one-third loss of bone density by age 70. When the spine is affected the vertebrae can crumble, causing pain, curvature and loss of height. Osteoporosis is most severe in elderly post-menopausal women.
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