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Research news from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University

NOTE: The US Surgeon General's Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis was released on October 14th. Osteoporosis is a critical health issue in this country, particularly for elders. Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes, president of the board of trustees for the National Osteoporosis Foundation and a nationally renowned expert on osteoporosis, notes in a recent journal article (summarized below) that it is "the most common metabolic bone disease in the United States, reaching epidemic proportions in the elderly population."*

The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that "One in every two women and one in every four men age 50 and older will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime."

This issue of Nutrition Notes focuses on two recent studies from Tufts University on osteoporosis.

--Gap in Care Found for Fracture Patients--

In a recent one-year study following the care of patients over the age of 51 who had been seen at a hospital for an acute fracture, researchers at Tufts and other institutions found that few of these patients were treated for osteoporosis. The authors note that the risk of re-fracture could be reduced drastically if more patients were evaluated and treated for osteoporosis.

In the study, six months after the fracture, of the 86 patients who could be reached, only 36% of the women and 7% of the men had recently discussed osteoporosis with their primary care physician, and there was no increase in the use of osteoporosis medications by the patients. Among the men and women who were advised by their doctors to increase intake of vitamin D and calcium, there was a significant increase in the use of vitamin D and calcium supplements, and an increase in the consumption of dairy foods. But, importantly, the men and women who did not receive this advice showed no significant changes in their intake of these substances. At twelve months, the treatment profiles were unchanged.

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Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
siobhan.gallagher@tufts.edu
617-636-6586
Tufts University
14-Oct-2004


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