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Bone Density Tests Do Predict Women's Fracture Risk
Date:12/18/2007

Largest, longest study ever supports screening and prevention of osteoporosis

TUESDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- One bone mineral density test can accurately predict a woman's chance of spinal fractures 15 years down the line, new research shows.

And, according to the largest and longest prospective study of osteoporosis ever, women who had a spinal fracture at the beginning of the study had four times the risk of sustaining another fracture later on.

The bottom line: "Women need to talk to their doctors about the risk of osteoporosis," according to Jane Cauley, lead author of the study and professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Her team published the findings in the Dec. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"I agree with the guidelines that all women after the age of 65 have bone density tests, and Medicare will pay for that," Cauley said. "Women who are postmenopausal, 50 to 64 years of age, should consider having a bone density test if they have other risk factors for osteoporosis or if they want to know what their bone density is before they consider any other treatment."

The findings don't change current standard practice, experts said, and they don't change the basic message to women: Don't ignore bone health, especially in middle and old age.

"The only really major advance here is that it's a longer term study. Mostly studies are five years typically. This one went out 15 years," said Paul Brandt, associate professor of neuroscience and experimental therapeutics at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in College Station. "Women need to get their bone mineral density tested after they start menopause and if they stay on hormone replacement therapy or an anti-osteoporotic treatment." he said.

Postmenopausal women are particularly vulnerable to fractures resultin
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