Bone Abstracts (2013) 1 OC5.1 | DOI: 10.1530/boneabs.01.OC5.1

A Three-year randomized sham-controlled trial of low magnitude mechanical stimulation in an elderly sample: the 'VIBES' trial

Douglas Kiel1, Marian Hannan1, Emily Sisson2, Mary Bouxsein3, Bruce Barton4, Dawn Dewkett1, Jay Magaziner5, Sheryl Zimmerman6, Elizabeth Shane7, Elizabeth Teng Leary8, Danette Carroll1, Brett Allaire3, Thomas Lang9 & Clinton Rubin10


1Harvard Medical School, Institute for Aging Research Hebrew Senior Life, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 2Boston University School of Public Health Data Coordinating Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 3Harvard Medical School, Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 4University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA; 5Division of Gerontology, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; 6Program on Aging, Disability and Long Term Care, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; 7Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA; 8Pacific Biomarkers, Seattle, Washington, USA; 9Department of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA; 10Biomedical Engineering, SUNY, Stony Brook, New York, USA.


Non-pharmacologic approaches to preserve or increase BMD include whole body vibration (WBV). A meta-analysis and one-year randomized trial concluded that WBV has no effect on BMD in older women; however, previous trials were relatively brief and did not include a sham control group. Therefore, we conducted the Vibration to Improve Bone in Elderly Subjects (‘VIBES’) trial, a randomized, sham-controlled trial of 10 min of daily WBV (0.3 g at 30 Hz) in seniors recruited from 16 independent living communities around Boston Massachusetts, USA. We randomized 174 men and women (89 active, 85 sham) with T-scores −1 to −2.5 who were not taking bone active drugs and had no diseases affecting the skeleton (mean age 82±7 years, range 65–102). The trial was originally planned for 2 years, but was extended for a third year. Participants received calcium 1000 mg and vitamin D 800 IU. Shared intervention platforms were activated using radiofrequency ID cards providing electronic adherence monitoring. ‘Sham’ platforms resembled the active platforms. In total, 61% of participants in the active arm and 73% in the sham arm completed 24 months. Of 29 individuals assigned to the active arm who agreed to a third year, 97% completed it; for the sham arm, 85% of 26 completed the third year. The primary outcomes measured by QCT, absolute changes in total femoral trabecular BMD, and in average mid-vertebral trabecular BMD of L1 and L2, were no different between active and sham arms (differences=0.0011 and 0.0003 g/cm3 respectively, all P values >0.2). Changes in biochemical markers of bone turnover (P1NP and sCTX) did not differ between groups (P=0.18 and P=0.97 respectively). Overall, mean adherence was 69%. In conclusion, this sham-controlled randomized trial of daily WBV in seniors of advanced age did not demonstrate evidence of beneficial effects on QCT BMD.