An author from Stonehouse is the first person in the UK to put her osteoporosis diagnosis into reverse using a new medical device developed by NASA.

Marodyne LiV, a low vibrating platform, was developed to help astronauts overcome loss of bone density when in zero-gravity conditions.

However, it can also be used to treat osteoporosis as studies have shown that standing on the device for ten minutes each day helps to prevent osteoporosis by reducing the risk of fractures.

69-year-old Jane Ryan, the author of the Missing Dad teen spy thriller series and award-winning short stories and dramas, was just 60 when she broke her left femur a fall.

Tests revealed she had severe osteoporosis in both femurs and she was living with the prospect her right femur could break at any time.

“Living with osteoporosis is like walking around with a timebomb strapped to you,” said Jane. “You may look fit – and I was in every other respect. But you are very, very frail. You know that you cannot afford the smallest slip.”

Jane started taking calcium tablets ‘the day I hit 50’ as she was advised that from that age, women become more susceptible to brittle bones.

However, in Jane’s case it was more severe than she had ever thought. A dexa scan aged 50 showed Jane she had osteopenia, the precursor disease to osteoporosis. After she broke her femur in 2011, another scan revealed the extent of her problem.

"I consulted a brilliant nutritionist, who put me on the bone-healthy diet that I still follow today. Each day I also do a leg and back-strengthening Pilates workout that my physio gave me. But, life-enhancing though these changes were, the dexa still said that my right femur was riddled with osteoporosis.”

In November 2015, the same month that her teen spy thriller series was launched, Jane stepped onto the Marodyne LiV plate for the first time. And apart from a six-week break in summer 2016 to take her Missing Dad series on a 12-state US tour, Jane was on that plate every morning without fail using it for the recommended 10 minutes. On April 26, 2018, she went for another dexa which showed that her right femur was no longer osteoporotic – just osteopenic.

“The beast had been put into reverse gear,” says Jane. “My GP had never seen scans like this. While I had hoped that the rate of bone thinning could be slowed. I had never dared to hope that my right femur could fight back and get stronger again. The feeling of how much has been given back to me is hard to put into words, even for me as a wordsmith!”

The device comprises a low vibrating platform which, when you step onto it, automatically adjusts to your weight, mass and movement to produce low acceleration, high frequency vibrations that send signals to re-activate the bone building cells in the body.

“This device has given me my life back and restored my confidence,” says Jane.

“It’s important that osteoporosis is not just considered an elderly person's disease as my story shows,” she continues. “I was a very active 60-year-old when my femur - the largest bone in my body – snapped. As soon as you pass the menopause, the damage can set in, no matter how often you go to the gym, or walk, or run. To avoid osteoporosis, we need a pre-emptive defence and, to my mind, Marodyne LiV is exactly that.”