Paul Makepeace ;-)

Osteoporosis and Osteopenia: a godly connection?

While idly investigating the etymology of osteoporosis and osteopenia I noticed a remarkable connection that I haven't seen documented anywhere else on the Web. So here it is; hope you enjoy it! (Especially since there's little else to enjoy about this subject.)

Quick definition

Osteoporosis is degenerative bone disease characterized by reduction of both bone density and structural strength of the spongy mesh at the ends of long bones and of the thin membranous tissue along the bone's shaft. The bones become literally porous. Osteoporosis is the point on where the bone is so weak there is imminent danger of a fracture. Osteopenia is defined as the stage between normal bone density & strength and osteoporosis, i.e. it's on the way. (There is actually a fourth stage beyond osteoporosis defined by the WHO as Established osteoporosis which is after a fracture.)

Normal :-)
Osteopenia :-/
Osteoporosis :-(
Established Osteoporosis :-O

Mythological roots

The etymology of the words are:

Now, Penia is the Greek goddess of poverty so the Greek etymology is obvious. Here's where it gets fun: she was married to, guess whom, the minor water god of expediency ... Porus! So the two terms osteoporosis and osteopenia are linked by an apparent coincidence that porus is also the Latin root for porous.

The burning question is whether the folk(s) who coined the term osteopenia had a grounding in Greek mythology and were aware of it. If so, I can imagine some big grins...

Further reading