October 14, 2021

IDEAL RRTC Disability Webinar Series: Make no bones about it—there is more to bone health than density, and we have much to learn!

2:00 pm to 3:00 pm


Note: Closed captions can be enabled by clicking the subtitles/ closed caption button in the YouTube player or pressing the c button on your keyboard.  



Adults with pediatric-onset neurodevelopmental disabilities and skeletal disabilities are often challenged by bone fragility. We will discuss implications of skeletal fragility and fracture risk on health outcomes and quality of life over the lifespan. We will describe the physiology of bone development and how it differs in these disabilities, and the importance of considering bone size and mineralization as an innovative way of assessing fracture risk. This information forms the basis for discussing how bone strength is affected in various conditions, along with implications for treatment. Knowing the biological and biomechanical pathways to fragility can inform on novel and better ways to screen, monitor, and treat bone fragility based on the skeletal needs of the individual.


Daniel G. Whitney, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan. Dan is a translational researcher focused on identifying the mechanisms of and burden from musculoskeletal pathology among individuals with pediatric-onset disabilities across the lifespan, to inform clinical practice for better ways to improve musculoskeletal and overall health.

Edward A. Hurvitz, MD, is Professor and Chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan Medical School. He is the James W. Rae Collegiate Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. His clinical and academic focus has been on individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) and other pediatric-onset disabilities through the lifespan, especially in adulthood.

Target Audience

Our target audience include individuals from Internal Medicine, Neurology, Orthopedic Surgery, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Primary Care, Radiology, and many other Healthcare Professions.


At the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss the effects of bone fragility on health outcomes in individuals with pediatric onset neurodevelopmental and skeletal disabilities.
  2. Describe the nature of bone as a complex adaptive system, including the importance of bone size in understanding bone strength.
  3. List ways in which bone structure and physiology are different in these populations.
  4. Apply this information to routine screening of individuals in these populations for bone fragility.

After completing this activity, participants will be able to routinely screen individuals in these populations, interpret the results of screening tests, and advise patients about fracture risk.

NIDILRR Statement

The content of this webinar has been developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR #90RTHF0001). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The content of this webinar does not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, or HHS and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.