July 23, 2021

CPMC researcher receives prestigious William F. Neuman Award
CPMC Researcher Recognized for Practice-changing Osteoporosis Research

by Karin Fleming, Program Manager, Research Communications, Sutter Health Office of Chief Research Officer

Steve Cummings, M.D., a researcher at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center and Executive Director of the San Francisco Coordinating Enter Center (SFCC), has been awarded the top honor from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR). The William F. Neuman Award recognizes major scientific contributions and impact on research and clinical practice in the area of bone and mineral research.


Dr. Cummings, known worldwide for his studies of aging, longevity and breast cancer, is perhaps most often cited for his discoveries in osteoporosis and its treatment.

He and colleagues at the SFCC led the large clinical trials that resulted in U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and widespread use of most of the treatments used for osteoporosis, including Fosamax® (alendronate), Prolia® (raloxifene) and Evista® (raloxifene), as well as the studies that first established the value of bone density and risk factors for hip fractures that are widely used in clinical practice. 


“Our team of outstanding scientists, data analysts and research staff at SFCC have done much of the research that is the basis of clinical care for osteoporosis and fracture prevention,” says Dr. Cummings. “When patients have bone density tests, when doctors recommend a treatment and when patients and doctors decide to stop or switch treatments, much of the evidence for those decisions comes from research by the SFCC.  Our team is extending our work to understanding and finding ways to slow aging.”

Dr. Cummings has published over 600 peer-reviewed, often high-impact publications since beginning his career as a physician-scientist in 1980. A residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in clinical epidemiology followed his medical degree at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), as well as 38 years as a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and biostatistics at UCSF. He also served as the Associate Chair of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Clinical Research at UCSF before joining CPMC.

Dr. Cummings has also been honored with election to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine in the National Academy of Sciences.

“Dr. Cummings’ research has changed the way clinicians and researchers approach osteoporosis, “says Warren Browner, M.D., CEO of Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). “His colleagues at the ASBMR have honored him for a lifetime of contributions to epidemiologic research and mentorship. He authored seven of the 50 most referenced papers in osteoporosis, and was recently listed as one of the 100 most highly cited researchers in the world.  ”  

“Dr. Cummings is a supportive mentor and collaborator who has fostered the careers of highly successful researchers. His ability to envision the next big topic in science and assemble research teams to address new questions has advanced research topics in areas spanning ‘protons to populations’,” says colleague Greg Tranah, Ph.D., scientific director of CPMC’s Research Institute and director of Sutter’s Center for Precision Medicine Research.

Dr. Cummings’ research has taken knowledge of some of the most chronic, complex illnesses to new heights for the betterment of human health. But he continues to charge forward; there’s more work to be done: his list of new research projects include SOMMA, the first study to obtain muscle and fat biopsies in nearly 900 older adults to understand the basis of human aging and find molecular targets for treatments of aging-related conditions like sarcopenia.   

He also leads
the largest clinical trial ever conducted for Parkinson’s disease to test whether a single treatment with an FDA-approved drug for osteoporosis can reduce the risk of fractures and lower the mortality rate of older adults with Parkinson’s disease. The trial, called TOPAZ, is being conducted entirely from patients’ homes without the need for visits to a clinic.

June 17, 2021

Clinical trials conducted at clinical sites are limited to enrolling people who live nearby and are able to attend visits at clinics. Some types of clinical trials can be performed without clinical sites, which enables people to participate regardless of proximity to a clinical site or limitations that make visits difficult. Trials at clinical sites involve face-to-face relationships with in-person collection of informed consent, examinations, data, and specimens. In contrast, without clinical sites, informed consent and data are obtained online, limited examinations can be performed by telemedicine or visiting research nurses, biospecimens can be collected by visiting nurses or local laboratories, and treatments can be sent to homes or administered by nurses in participants’ homes. Trials without clinical sites require internet access and must adapt to the lack of face-to-face interactions with study staff, with communication conducted by email, telephone, or video. Many trials cannot be performed entirely without clinical sites because they require examinations, tests, or treatments that must be given at a clinical site. However, some of the methods required for trials without sites, such as online data collection, follow-up visits by telemedicine or research nurses, and delivery of treatments to home, could reduce the need for visits to clinical sites and reduce the burden of participating in a clinical trial. When feasible, conducting clinical trials without clinical sites has the potential to expand participation and the generalizability of their results.

Read the full article here:  JAMA Intern Med. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.9223

September 18, 2020

It is unknown whether muscle mass measured by the D3-creatine dilution method is a superior predictor of incident mobility disability than traditional components of sarcopenia definitions (including grip strength, walking speed, appendicular lean mass). The objective of this study was to determine the relative importance of strength; physical performance; and lean, fat, and muscle mass in predicting incident mobility disability in older men.

Link to Pubmed:

Walking Speed and Muscle Mass Estimated by the D3-Creatine Dilution Method Are Important Components of Sarcopenia Associated With Incident Mobility Disability in Older Men

PMID: 32381425



May 07, 2020

More than 20 million Americans suffer from chronic insomnia. This sleep disorder can cause emotional distress, impaired functioning and reduced quality of life. It can even contribute to an increased risk for other health problems such as depression and high blood pressure.

Researchers at Sutter Health’s San Francisco Coordinating Center (SFCC) are collaborating with investigators at the University of Pittsburgh and other leading institutions nationwide to help improve insomnia treatment. Their collective focus begins with attempts to better support people suffering from the disorder in remote communities since access to sleep clinics may be limited.

The newly launched COZI (Comparative Effectiveness of Zolpidem and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Rural Adults) study will assess the effectiveness of web-based cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) compared with a common prescription sleep medication (zolpidem) or the combination. COZI is the largest, multicenter, randomized clinical trial of its kind to be conducted in rural primary care practices.

The study uses a self-guided online approach to CBT for insomnia developed by collaborators at the University of Virginia. COZI will enroll 1,200 people ages 18 to 80 with chronic insomnia in rural primary care practices affiliated with eight U.S. academic medical centers. Treatment effects will be evaluated at nine weeks, and at six and 12 months.

“Both zolpidem and CBT-I have been proven effective in treating chronic insomnia. However, COZI is the first randomized trial to comprehensively explore how these therapies compare in providing sustained sleep improvements, as well as their potential side effects and impact on other health outcomes,” says Katie Stone, Ph.D., senior scientist at SFCC and lead investigator of COZI for Sutter.

“People in rural areas with insomnia may have difficultly traveling to sleep clinics for care. Our goal is to test an approach that delivers insomnia treatment in their homes, making it easier for them to use an innovative, convenient approach to manage their sleep disorder,” said Daniel Buysse, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and co-lead investigator of COZI.

“We anticipate this new approach to delivering insomnia treatment will help lead to sustained improvements in how providers care for adults in rural communities with this common sleep disorder,” said Dr. Stone.

“This project was selected for PCORI funding for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and healthcare providers in a major study conducted in real-world settings. COZI may help answer an important question about chronic insomnia and fill a crucial evidence gap,” said PCORI Executive Director Nakela Cook, M.D., MPH.”

The four-year, $5.7 million study is sponsored by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).1

Contact Katie Stone, Ph.D. for more information about the COZI study.

A Dose of Technology to Aid Sleep Therapy:

Many clinical studies test whether a treatment works under ideal conditions in specialized research centers, but health care is rarely delivered in such idealized situations and settings. Pragmatic clinical studies such as COZI test a treatment’s effectiveness in “real-world” practice situations such as outpatient settings, and also can include a wider range of study participants—making their findings more applicable to a broader patient population.

While CBT-I is well-established as an effective strategy for treating insomnia,2,3 it is usually delivered in person by behavioral health specialists. CBT-I broadens access to insomnia treatment and provides sleep disorder education, monitoring and individualized behavioral recommendations to improve sleep. In rural communities, use of CBT-I may be even more important because these types of sleep therapies can be limited in remote areas.

The SutterHealth announcement can be found here:

April 29, 2020

Comparing Analytical Methods for the Gut Microbiome and Aging: Gut Microbial Communities and Body Weight in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study. 
Shardell M, Parimi N, Langsetmo L, Tanaka T, Jiang L, Orwoll E, Shikany JM, Kado DM, Cawthon PM; Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study Group. 
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020 Feb 6. pii: glaa034. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glaa034. [Epub ahead of print] 
PMID: 32025711.

Red Cell Distribution Width Is a Risk Factor for Hip Fracture in Elderly Men Without Anemia. 
Kim KM, Lui LY, Cauley JA, Ensrud KE, Orwoll ES, Schousboe JT, Cummings SR; Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study Research Group. 
J Bone Miner Res. 2020 Jan 28. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3963. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 31991005.


February 18, 2020

The Symposium brings together clinical investigators from Stanford, UCSF, Kaiser, and Sutter / CPMC.  Investigators shared their research as an abstract for in posters or oral presentations. The program featured: 

The debate, “Can Big Data replace Randomized Trials?” between Mark Cullen, Head of Population Sciences at Stanford, and Dr. Chuck McCulloch, Chief of Biostatistics at UCSF. 

A special research lecture: Reducing Harm from Overuse of CT scans. Rebecca Smith-Bindman, Professor of Radiology, UCSF.

Awards & prizes for best abstracts included:

Greg Tranah – Best Abstract by a Senior Scientist
“Y Chromosome Maintenance is an Indicator of Health, Lifespan and Vitality”

Jade Benjamin-Chung – Best Oral Abstract by a Junior Scientist
“Risk factors associated with early onset of childhood stunting in low-resource settings”

Bocheng Jing – Best Poster Abstract by a Junior Scientist
“Comparing Traditional Regression Approaches with Machine Learning Approaches for 10-year Mortality Prediction”


February 18, 2020

Dr. Black will be part of a team on the BACPAC study to improve imaging of low back pain, including developing deep-learning-based technologies for faster image reconstruction, tissue segmentation and spinal degeneration detection.

Links provided by The UR Office of Communications produced an online story Oct. 10 on the NIH HEAL Initiative awards to UCSF:


October 30, 2019

Eastell R, Vittinghoff E, Lui LY, McCulloch CE, Marin F, de Papp A, Chines A, Khosla S, Cauley JA, Bauer DC, Bouxsein M, Black DM.

ASBMR 2019 Annual Meeting. September 20-23, 2019.

Click here to view presentation.


October 01, 2019

Fractures and resulting morbidity, mortality and costs are a large and growing burden among older men.
The fracture rate increases exponentially after age 65, and the average age of hip fracture is >80 yrs. Fracture risk in later life is strongly influenced by declines in bone structure and strength. Yet, in older men there are very few studies with longitudinal data concerning these changes in bone structure. Thus, this study will focus on repeating measures of bone structure and strength using HR-pQCT technology in men participating in the MrOS study, all of whom are now aged 84 years and older. This grant is funded by the NIH, under the “high priority, short term project” (R56) award mechanism. This project will serve as a foundation for future work including identification of predictors of change in bone strength and size at the peripheral skeleton. For additional award information, click here.


June 05, 2019

Improving Care for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease
Researchers at Sutter Health’s San Francisco Coordinating Center to lead a national study to test whether a simple, home-based approach may prevent fractures

Older patients with Parkinson’s disease often suffer from a very high risk of falls, and may experience disabling fractures. Research has not shown whether drug treatments for the prevention of osteoporosis (such as zoledronic acid) could also prevent fractures in such affected individuals.

Researchers at the San Francisco Coordinating Center (SFCC) designed the “Trial of Parkinson’s and Zoledronic Acid”(TOPAZ) study to answer that question.  They lead a nationwide team including neurologists and bone disease experts from UC San Francisco (UCSF), the Parkinson’s Foundation, Duke University, and others in a trial to test the effectiveness of zoledronic acid, a medication whose benefits for bone last  at least two years after one intravenous treatment.  

“There are few treatments for Parkinson’s disease, but TOPAZ could show how a simple treatment given at home could prevent one of the most important causes of disability and death in these patients,” said Steve Cummings, M.D., Director of SFCC and a lead investigator of TOPAZ.  Dr. Cummings also noted that TOPAZ is the first of study of its kind nationwide.

“Fractures can result in a loss of independence, so it’s important to find ways to prevent them, particularly in this group of patients,” said Parkinson’s disease expert, Caroline Tanner, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurology at UCSF and a lead investigator of TOPAZ. “We hope this study will provide us with some answers.”

“Patients with Parkinson’s disease have difficulty traveling to clinics for care. Our goal is to test if we can bring the evaluation and treatment to their home making it easier for them to reduce their risk of disabling fractures,” said Kenneth W. Lyles, MD, Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at Duke University, TOPAZ lead investigator at Duke, and world expert on zoledronic acid. 

The TOPAZ study seeks to enroll 3,500 patients with Parkinson’s disease who are 65 years or older. 

Neurologists who are specialists in Parkinson’s disease may conduct a video interview with the patient to confirm the diagnosis.  A study nurse will check patients to confirm that treatment with zoledronic acid would be safe, and once confirmed, will then give zoledronic acid or placebo intravenously.  Patients will be contacted every four months for at least two years about whether they have had a fracture.  

The five-year, $30 million study is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, part of the U.S. National Institute of Health.  

Nearly 800,000 Americans age 65 or older have Parkinson’s disease—a brain illness that causes slow loss of control of movements, walking and balance, increased risk of falling, and decreased cognitive functions. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but TOPAZ could show that one treatment could prevent a disabling consequence of the illness.


April 30, 2019

From the Sutter Health News Room  – "Until now, research on aging and how to preserve independence as we age has come almost entirely from mice, worms, and flies, or human studies of blood specimens. Researchers at Sutter Health’s San Francisco Coordinating Center (SFCC) are launching a breakthrough study—the Study of Muscle Mobility and Aging (SOMMA)—to understand the biology of human aging and how it influences people’s ability to remain independent. SOMMA is the first study of its kind in the U.S."

Read the full annoucement online at Sutter News Room.


September 05, 2018

Mitochondrial DNA m.3243A>G heteroplasmy affects multiple aging phenotypes and risk of mortality

Gregory J. Tranah, Shana M. Katzman, Kevin Lauterjung, Kristine Yaffe, Todd M. Manini, Stephen Kritchevsky, Anne B. Newman, Tamara B. Harris, Steven R. Cummings


Mitochondria contain many copies of a circular DNA molecule (mtDNA), which has been observed as a mixture of normal and mutated states known as heteroplasmy. Elevated heteroplasmy at a single mtDNA site, m.3243A > G, leads to neurologic, sensory, movement, metabolic, and cardiopulmonary impairments. We measured leukocyte mtDNA m.3243A > G heteroplasmy in 789 elderly men and women from the bi-racial, population-based Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study to identify associations with age-related functioning and mortality. Mutation burden for the m.3243A > G ranged from 0–19% and elevated heteroplasmy was associated with reduced strength, cognitive, metabolic, and cardiovascular functioning. Risk of all-cause, dementia and stroke mortality was significantly elevated for participants in the highest tertiles of m.3243A > G heteroplasmy. These results indicate that the accumulation of a rare genetic disease mutation, m.3243A > G, manifests as several aging outcomes and that some diseases of aging may be attributed

Free Paper

Mitochondrial DNA m.13514G>A heteroplasmy is associated with depressive symptoms in the elderly

Gregory J. Tranah, Jeanne E. Maglione, Kristine Yaffe, Shana M. Katzman, Todd M. Manini, Stephen Kritchevsky, Anne B. Newman, Tamara B. Harris, Steven R. Cummings for the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study

Corresponding Author

E-mail address:gtranah@sfcc‐cpmc.netE-mail address:[email protected]LA Eye Center and Clinic, Los Angeles, CA, USAAbstract

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) heteroplasmy is a mixture of normal and mutated mtDNA molecules in a cell. High levels of heteroplasmy at several mtDNA sites in complex I lead to inherited neurological neurologic diseases and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities. Here, we test the hypothesis that mtDNA heteroplasmy at these complex I sites is associated with depressive symptoms in the elderly.

We examined platelet mtDNA heteroplasmy for associations with depressive symptoms among 137 participants over age 70 from the community-based Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the 10-point version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D 10). Complete mtDNA sequencing was performed and heteroplasmy derived for 5 mtDNA sites associated with neurologic mitochondrial diseases and tested for associations with depressive symptoms.

Of 5 candidate complex I mtDNA mutations examined for effects on depressive symptoms, increased heteroplasmy at m.13514A>G, ND5, was significantly associated with higher CES-D score (P = .01). A statistically significant interaction between m.13514A > G heteroplasmy and sex was detected (P = .04); in sex-stratified analyses, the impact of m.13514A>G heteroplasmy was stronger in male (P = .003) than in female (P = .98) participants. Men in highest tertile of mtDNA heteroplasmy exhibited significantly higher (P = .0001) mean ± SE CES-D 10 scores, 5.37 ± 0.58, when compared with those in the middle, 2.13 ± 0.52, and lowest tertiles, 2.47 ± 0.58. No associations between the 4 other candidate sites and depressive symptoms were observed.

Increased mtDNA heteroplasmy at m.13514A>G is associated with depressive symptoms in older men. Heteroplasmy may represent a novel biological risk factor for depression

Full Text:


July 03, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO, June 20, 2018—Accurately measuring loss of skeletal muscle mass can help improve care for older men, who may be at risk of falls, mobility problems and other poor health outcomes due to age-related loss of strength. However, results from dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) testing — which is typically used to measure muscle mass) — often do not correlate well with physical performance, self-reported mobility, falls and other functional outcomes of skeletal muscle loss due to aging. The ability to carefully characterize muscle mass is central our understanding of sarcopenia – the age-related loss of muscle and its accompanying decline in physical performance.


In a prospective study of more than 1,000 older men, California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute (CPMCRI) scientists and collaborators throughout the U.S. found that a newer non-invasive urine test delivered muscle mass measures that were a more accurate predictor of the development of physical symptoms of sarcopenia than DXA. Furthermore, since the laboratory test is comparable in cost and is easier to administer than DXA, its use could improve access to early detection of loss of muscle in men.


In the study, 1,382 men with a mean age of 84.2 years agreed to have their skeletal muscle mass measured with the D3-creatine dilution method laboratory test. The non-invasive test involves swallowing a capsule of D3-creatine, a non-radioactive tracer isotope, and then measuring how much of the isotope is passed through to the urine. Through an algorithm, the amount of muscle mass is then calculated. The men also had a DXA lean mass test, completed a short series of physical performance tests and answered questions about their mobility limitations. The men, who were all part of the large cohort Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) longitudinal research project, where then tracked over subsequent years for incidence of recurrent falls and new mobility problems.


The CPMCRI team found that even controlling for other factors that might impact health outcomes, such as their activity level and other health conditions, the D3-creatine method was a more accurate predictor of functional outcomes for the men than the DXA lean mass test.


“Demonstrating that this  non-invasive and relatively low cost test re is consistently related to  late-life functional outcomes opens up the possibility of improving care for older people, by identifying those at most risk of physical decline” Peggy Cawthon, Senior Scientist, CPMCRI. ”We hope that this test ultimately may be used to help identify novel treatment strategies for this population.”


The study is entitled “Strong Relation Between Muscle Mass Determined by D3-Creatine Dilution, Physical Performance and Incidence of Falls And Mobility Limitations in a Prospective Cohort of Older Men.” It appears in the June 12, 2018, issue of the peer-reviewed The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. Read the abstract here.

About the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study


The MrOS study is a multi-center study of healthy aging in men that has been ongoing since 2000. It is funded by the National Institutes of Health and facilitated by the San Francisco Coordinating Center, a non-profit, academic research organization that is a collaborative enterprise among researchers from California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute and the UCSF School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.



About California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC)—A Sutter Health Affiliate


At San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center, we believe in the power of medicine. We research the most up-to-date treatments, hire the most qualified individuals, and practice the most modern, innovative medicine available. We deliver the highest-quality expert care with kindness and compassion in acute, post-acute and outpatient services, as well as preventive and complementary medicine. As one of California’s largest private, community-based, not-for-profit, teaching medical centers, and a Sutter Health affiliate, we are able to reach deep into our community to provide education, screening and financial support in some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Like us on Facebook, watch us on YouTube and follow us on Twitter. For more information visit our web site at


May 08, 2018

Few pooled analyses of antiresorptive (AR) treatment trials relate short-term changes in bone turnover markers (BTMs) to subsequent fracture reduction. Such information would be useful to assess new ARs or novel dosing regimens. In the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) Bone Quality project, we analyzed individual-level data from 28,000 participants enrolled in 11 bisphosphonate (BP) and three selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) placebo-controlled fracture endpoint trials. Using BTM results for two bone formation markers (bone-specific alkaline phosphatase [bone ALP] and pro-collagen I N-propeptide [PINP]) and two bone resorption markers (N-terminal and C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen) and incident fracture outcome data, we performed a meta-regression relating the mean net effect of treatment on change in bone turnover (active minus placebo % difference after 3 to 12 months) to the log of study-wide fracture risk reduction, and used linear regression to plot the best fitting line. Separate analyses were performed for incident morphometric vertebral, nonvertebral, and hip fractures over 1 to 4 years of followup. Change in bone ALP and PINP were available for over 16,000 and 10,000 participants, respectively. For vertebral fracture, the results showed a strong relationship between treatment-related bone ALP or PINP changes and vertebral fracture risk reduction (r2¼0.82 [p<0.001] and r2¼0.75 [p¼0.011], respectively) Relationships were weaker and no longer statistically significant for nonvertebral (r2¼0.33 [p¼0.053] and r2¼0.53 [p¼0.065], respectively) and hip fracture (r2¼0.17 [p¼0.24] and r2¼0.43 [p¼0.11], respectively) outcomes. Analyses limited to BP trials gave similar results. For all fracture types, relationships were weaker and nonsignificant for bone resorption markers. We conclude that short-term AR treatment-related changes in bone ALP and PINP strongly predict vertebral fracture treatment efficacy, but not nonvertebral or hip fracture treatment efficacy. Change in bone formation markers might be useful to predict the anti-vertebral fracture efficacy of new AR compounds or novel dosing regiments with approved AR drugs

Accepted manuscript online December 6, 2017.
Address correspondence to: Douglas Bauer, MD, Department of Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine, 1545 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.
E-mail: [email protected]

Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Vol. xx, No. xx, Month 2017, pp 1–9 DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3355


May 02, 2018

Robert A. Hiatt, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, is first author on the paper describing the project's early progress and collaborations.  The paper also presents a framework for systematically planning and developing a similar structure for community-based health projects.

The San Francisco Cancer Inititiative is targeting the five most common cancers which account for half of all new cancers in San Francisco: breast, lung and other tobacco-related cancers, prostate, colorectal and liver cancer.

Read the full story at or read the paper in Health Affairs.   Read more about the San Francisco Cancer Initiative (SF CAN).


April 30, 2018

The Eureka Research Platform is designed to help investigators conduct direct-to-participant longitudinal research, including cohort studies and randomized controlled trials.  The platform uses technology developed for the Health eHeart Study, and enables eConsent, online surveys, collection of data from wearable sensors, devices and smartphones, and flexible messaging for reminders and behavioral interventions.  Integration with medical records is coming soon.  Learn more about the platform here.


March 02, 2018

The Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study, a study of healthy aging with a focus on osteoporosis and fractures in 5,994 older men 65 years and older, has released over 16 years of prospective data on MrOS Online


MrOS Online provides data, documentation, and study procedures from the multi-center MrOS Study.  With over 41,000 variables across seven time points, the MrOS Online database includes:


  • Assessment of falls, fractures, and mortality
  • Performance tests and lifestyle questionnaires
  • Objective and subjective measures of physical activity
  • Data from x-ray images, DXA, QCT, and HRpQCT scans
  • Objective and subjective sleep data from the MrOS Sleep ancillary study (n=3,135)
  • Tracking of cardiovascular events from the MrOS Sleep ancillary study
  • Oral health assessments from the MrOS Dental ancillary visit (n=1,353)
  • Biospecimen data, including serum chemistry, hormones, and cytokines


The online database is available to the public and anyone who registers and accepts the terms of an online data use agreement can download or explore study data. Please note that only a subset of datasets from the MrOS archives are currently available online. Additional datasets will be publicly released in the near future.


The NIA blog/announcement can be found here:


October 03, 2017

Clinical trials of new drugs for the prevention of fracture are extremely expensive and typically go on for at least 3 years. Investigators have tried for decades to find a new more efficient way of conducting these trials more efficiently. The Foundation for NIH project on Bone Quality at the SFCC has discovered that hip BMD is a good surrogate for hip fracture in clinical trials.

The project has compiled data from over 100,000 participants in over 40 clinical trials. They have pooled all of this data together to create the most powerful existing tool for studying ways to make clinical trials more efficient. The project compared changes in hip BMD during the course of these trials and the change in risk of hip fracture. The scientists discovered that every 1% improvement in hip BMD in the trials accurately predicted about a 5% decrease in the risk of hip fractures. This result was presented at a recent conference held by the FDA about new guidelines for clinical trials and has been submitted to FDA to consider revising their guidelines to accept BMD as a “surrogate” to allow clinical trials to use hip BMD as an endpoint for trials to approve drug therapies for prevention of fracture. This would be a revolutionary change in approval of new treatments for osteoporosis.


October 03, 2017

High levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) heteroplasmy, a mixture of normal and mutated mtDNA molecules in a cell, lead to inherited mitochondrial diseases with neurological, sensory, and movement impairments. We measured mtDNA heteroplasmy at twenty disease-causing sites for associations with neurosensory and mobility function among elderly participants from a community-based study of aging.


May 01, 2016

In a study from MrOS from the SF Coordinating Center and led by Dr. Doug Bauer, we found that high levels of thyroid hormone that were not known to the patient or physician, indicated a 2.5 to 3.6 times greater chance of becoming frail later in life. This is a treatable condition that might lead to wasting bone and muscle.

(See abstract Virginii VS, et al. Subclinical thyroid dysfunction and frailty among older men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2015;100:4524-32.)