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Density Loss Not Always 'Brittle Bones' Predictor

Study says some women prone to osteoporosis even if bone-density loss is minimal

FRIDAY, June 21, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Here's more disturbing news for post-menopausal women: The amount of mineral density in your bones may not be a good predictor of just how brittle your bones may be.

The structural integrity inside the bone can deteriorate within just one year in early postmenopausal women, even though there may only be modest loss of bone mineral density (BMD), according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Francisco.

The same study found that risedronate sodium tablets (Actonel) can protect the bone's structural integrity and increase BMD. Actonel is made and marketed by Procter & Gamble and Aventis Pharmaceuticals. The two companies paid for the study.

The study included 26 women within six months to five years after menopause. They received 5 milligrams of Actonel or a placebo daily for a year. None of them was given calcium supplements.

After a year, the 12 women in the placebo group had significant deterioration of the microarchitecture of trabecular bone -- the structural network inside the bone -- despite having only a 3.3 percent decrease in lumbar spine BMD.

Over the same period, the 14 women who took Actonel maintained their trabecular bone architecture and had a 2.1 percent gain in lumbar spine BMD.

More information

Osteoporosis (bone density loss) affects about 200 million women worldwide, says the International Osteoporosis Foundation. This article from the U.S. National Osteoporosis Foundation updates the number of people now affected by the disease and estimates that more than 60 million Americans will suffer some sort of bone-density loss before 2020.

SOURCE: Proctor and Gamble Pharmaceuticals and Aventis Pharmaceuticals news release, June 21, 2002
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