Samuel Haughton Lecture 2001

27/01/2001 in Arklow Bay Hotel, Arklow

Exercise and osteoporosis

Moira O’Brien, FRCPI, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland


It is a great honour to be invited by the Council of the Bioengineering Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland to give the 7th Samuel Haughton lecture following in the footsteps of two of my former students, Professor Pierce Grace and Mr Michael Stephens. The Reverend Samuel Haughton was a Victorian polymath. He was an individual who had a wealth of knowledge in many fields. He was a mathematician, geologist, anatomist, medical doctor and an international renowned chemist.’


Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal disease characterised by low bone density and micro architectural deterioration of bone tissue with a consequent increase in bone fragility and susceptibility to fracture. It is a silent disease. It is the result of the negative balance between bone formation and bone resorption, i.e. more bone is lost than is formed. It is the most common bone disease worldwide and is now a major health problem. Bones require a normal level of systemic hormones, adequate caloric intake, particularly protein, calcium and vitamin D and regular weight-bearing exercise throughout life. A large bone mass early in life protects against osteoporosis. Peak bone mass is determined by sex, heredity family history, race, diet and exercise. Sixty per cent of bone growth occurs during adolescence. Moderate exercise protects against osteoporosis, but too little or excessive exercise may cause osteoporosis.

Exercise and osteoporosis

This being the seventh presentation of the Samuel Haughton Lecture since its beginnings in 1995.

Meeting chaired by David Fitzpatrick

Bronze Medal Winner:  Hannan Mullett (Cappagh Hospital)