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Mayo Clinic study finds increase in forearm fractures among adolescents

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Forearm fractures are on the rise among both adolescent boys and girls, according to a Mayo Clinic study published in the Sept. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

During childhood, the incidence of distal forearm fractures (those located near the wrist) typically peaks around age 12 in girls and 14 in boys. Previous studies have documented that most of these fractures occur around the time of the growth spurt during puberty.

"Our study examined whether these fracture rates have changed over time, and the data would indicate that there has been a substantial increase in these fractures that is of some concern," says Sundeep Khosla, M.D., a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and the study's primary investigator.

Supported by the National Institute on Aging, Mayo Clinic researchers recorded the number of forearm fractures that occurred in people under age 35 who lived in Rochester, Minn., during four defined time periods. A previous study had published these data from 1969-1971. Dr. Khosla's team re-examined these data and looked at the same population 10, 20 and 30 years later in 1979-1981, 1989-1991 and 1999-2001.

The most significant finding was that the forearm fracture rate among young people increased by 42 percent, from 265 per 100,000 people annually in 1969-1971, to 469 per 100,000 in 1999-2001.

"That 42 percent increase in forearm fractures is mostly due to increased fractures among people under age 20," says Dr. Khosla.

Looking at the years 1999-2001, girls between 8 and 11 and boys between 11 and 14 had higher fracture rates than all other age groups studied. And 12-year-old boys had the highest fracture rate of all, 1,536 per 100,000 people, or 1.5 percent per year.

Mayo Clinic researchers also grouped the fractures by categories, including those caused by disease, serious trauma (including car accidents, serious falls, and recreational and occupationa
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Contact: Cathy Stroebel
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
16-Sep-2003


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