The research involvement and interests of Kurt A. Kennel, M.D., include optimal use of bone strength assessments and fracture risk prediction tools in the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis, the impact of bariatric surgery on bone health, and the role of nutrition, lifestyle and body weight in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
- Assessment of bone strength in patients with degenerative or deforming spine disorders. Dr. Kennel collaborates with neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery investigators to analyze the utility of preoperative testing of bone strength to predict outcomes of spine surgery and select patients for treatment with bone-strengthening medications for preoperative optimization of bone strength.
- Assessment of bone strength in patients with spinal cord injury. Dr. Kennel collaborates with physical medicine and rehabilitation investigators to develop assessments of strength of non-weight-bearing bones using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA) of the proximal tibia and distal femur.
Significance to patient care
Bone mineral density (BMD) testing using DXA to screen for osteoporosis is widely available but inconsistently or ineffectively applied to patient care. Dr. Kennel aims to optimize the clinical usefulness of BMD testing and related DXA studies as well as CT scan-based assessments of bone strength, particularly in patients with spinal cord injury and degenerative or deforming (scoliosis) spine disorders requiring spine surgery. This in turn helps to identify patients who may benefit from medical treatment to improve bone strength to optimize the results of surgical and rehabilitative treatments for spine and spinal cord injuries.
Any weight loss, including intentional weight loss due to bariatric surgery and medical treatments, leads to bone loss and an increased risk of fracture later in life. Minimizing bone loss due to weight reduction and diagnosing and treating low bone mass in those who have experienced weight loss can prevent fractures that would detract from the overall improvement in health associated with losing weight.