Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


A single bone mineral density test predicts 'silent' spinal fractures years later

Findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association

A single bone mineral density (BMD) test given 15 years earlier predicted a woman’s risk of developing fractures to her spine over time, according to the largest and longest prospective study of osteoporosis. The study, published in the Dec. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and led by investigators at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, also found that women who had a spinal fracture at the start of the study were four times more likely to have another fracture. In fact, more than half of the women with low BMD and existing spinal fractures developed new fractures over the 15-year study period, raising concerns about the impact of so-called “silent” fractures to the spine.

“Spinal fractures are the hallmark of osteoporosis, but one of the problems with diagnosing them is that they often have no symptoms,” said Jane Cauley, Dr.P.H., professor of epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. “Many women may be walking around with multiple fractures and not even know it. Our study raises concerns about the impact of these fractures on quality of life by putting women at risk for subsequent fractures, but it also provides evidence that a simple and non-invasive bone density test can help identify those at risk.”

The findings are based on 2,300 women over the age of 65 enrolled in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF), a longitudinal, multi-site study initiated in 1986 to learn more about the risk factors and causes of osteoporosis. For the current study, investigators from five institutions took lateral radiographs of the thoracic and lumbar spines of research participants and measured their BMD and body weight. Researchers found that by year 15 of the study, 18 percent of the women had experienced spinal fractures. They also found that 25 percent of women who began the study with low BMD developed spine fractures, compared to only nine percent of women with normal BMD.

According to Dr. Cauley, the study’s results demonstrate the importance of BMD testing for women over the age of 50. About 700,000 spinal fractures occur each year in women in this age group, and 75 percent of these fractures occur without symptoms. Spinal fractures result in chronic back pain and increased risk of other fractures, including those in the hip.

“Women don’t have to end up with dowager’s hump, the hallmark of osteoporosis,” said Dr. Cauley. Dowager’s hump indicates that a woman has endured multiple spine fractures. “Osteoporosis is not an inevitable consequence of aging. Under-diagnosis remains a major problem. There are several effective treatments for osteoporosis that can prevent subsequent fractures, so it is vitally important to recognize these fractures with repeat spine films over time.”

Based on the results of the study, Dr. Cauley and colleagues are developing a risk model to help physicians better identify women who are more likely to have a silent spine fracture and who may benefit from treatment.

Clare Collins | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>