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For the first time bone mineral content can be shown in different anatomical areas of the body

Scientists from the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) have examined the patterns of total bone mineral content of the Spanish population in different areas of the body. The analysis is the first one of its kind undertaken in Spain that studies subjects from birth until 80 years of age and confirms the differences in mineral content according to gender and changes due to age.

A team of Spanish researchers set out to establish the reference values for skeletal bone status in the course of a human being’s lifetime. This is a “very important piece of work given the changes in bone metabolism of the Spanish population”, Soledad Aguado, the main author of the work and researcher at the UAH explains to SINC.

The research, published in the latest number of the Skeletal Radiology Journal, is the first that has been undertaken in Spain in subjects whose ages ranged from 0 to 80 years of age. The study was performed in 1,120 subjects from the Community of Madrid, all of whom had a sedentary lifestyle.

The sample was divided into 16 groups at 5-year age intervals. Each group had a bone densitometry scan using the technique known as “Dual X-Ray phototonic absorptiometry [DXA]. The aim was to quantify bone mineral content in the whole body and in different and separate areas of the body. The results show that there are big differences in gender in the mean values of bone mineral content for the head and trunk of the body (between 16 and 25 years) and legs and arms (between 16 and 70 years). In all cases, women have less bone mineral content.

Previous studies confirmed that the bone mineral content increases from birth until 25 years of age and reduces from 26 until 40 years of age, the time at which it starts to stabilize. From 56 years old the reduction in bone mineral content becomes more acute. However, women reach their maximum bone mass at an earlier age than men: the increase of total bone mineral content occurs from birth until 20 years of age. The researcher from Madrid explains that these values “offer a useful piece of reference information when comparing them with sedentary populations from other geographical areas, or a population with osteoporosis or sportsmen or women”.

Osteoporosis in Spain

According to the Spanish Society for Bone Research and Mineral Metabolism [la Sociedad Española de Investigación Ósea y Metabolismo Mineral] (SEIOMM), osteoporosis is a disease that affects women more than men. Today two million women already suffer from this disease and it causes about 25,000 bone fractures per year as a result of deterioration in the micro-architecture of bone tissue caused by osteoporosis.

The appearance of this disease is caused mainly by an ageing population and the prevalence of this disease is increasing on a daily basis. Currently, osteoporosis affects 16% of people older than 50 years of age.

SINC Team | alfa
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