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VIDEO: Teenager Has Broken Her Bones 1000 Times

Sabal Parveen, 18, a student, from Bhagalpur, in Bihar, northern India, suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare genetic disorder that affects the bones and makes them break remarkably easily.

The severity of the disease has caused Sabal to break 90% of the bones in her body.

According to Wikipedia, people with OI are born with defective connective tissue, or without the ability to make it, usually because of a deficiency of Type-I collagen. This deficiency arises from an amino acid substitution of glycine to bulkier amino acids in the collagen triple helix structure.


The larger amino acid side-chains create steric hindrance that creates a bulge in the collagen complex, which in turn influences both the molecular nanomechanics and the interaction between molecules, which are both compromised. As a result, the body may respond by hydrolyzing the improper collagen structure.

If the body does not destroy the improper collagen, the relationship between the collagen fibrils and hydroxyapatite crystals to form bone is altered, causing brittleness.

Another suggested disease mechanism is that the stress state within collagen fibrils is altered at the locations of mutations, where locally larger shear forces lead to rapid failure of fibrils even at moderate loads as the homogeneous stress state found in healthy collagen fibrils is lost.

These recent works suggest that OI must be understood as a multi-scale phenomenon, which involves mechanisms at the genetic, nano-, micro- and macro-level of tissues.

As a genetic disorder, OI has historically been viewed as an autosomal dominant disorder of type I collagen. Most cases have been caused by mutations in the COL1A1 and COL1A2 genes.

In the past several years, there has been the identification of autosomal recessive forms. Most people with OI receive it from a parent but in 35% of cases it is an individual (de novo or “sporadic”) mutation.

There is no definitive test for OI. The diagnosis is usually suggested by the occurrence of bone fractures with little trauma and the presence of other clinical features. A skin biopsy can be performed to determine the structure and quantity of type I collagen.


DNA testing can confirm the diagnosis, however, it cannot exclude it because not all mutations causing OI are known and/or tested for.

OI type II is often diagnosed by ultrasound during pregnancy, where already multiple fractures and other characteristic features may be present. Relative to control, OI cortical bone shows increased porosity, canal diameter, and connectivity in micro-computed tomography.

An important differential diagnosis of OI is child abuse, as both may present with multiple fractures in various stages of healing. Differentiating them can be difficult, especially when no other characteristic features of OI are present. Other differential diagnoses include rickets, osteomalacia, and other rare skeletal syndromes.

There is no cure. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by exercising and avoiding smoking can help prevent fractures. Treatment may include care of broken bones, pain medication, physical therapy, braces or wheelchairs, and surgery. A type of surgery that puts metal rods through long bones may be done to strengthen them.

Bisphosphonates can increase bone mass, and reduce bone pain and fracture.

Bone infections are treated as and when they occur with the appropriate antibiotics and antiseptics.

Joanna Grey