Age-related structural change may contribute to fracture risk

It is well established that post-menopausal women are at increased risk for developing osteoporosis, but could that be related to subtle pre-menopausal changes in bone structure? That may very well be, according to two new sets of data presented at the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis this week. The findings were made possible by the use of a new sophisticated X-ray scanner that can measure tiny, three-dimensional changes in bone architecture.

In two additional presentations, researchers from Ireland and the U.S.A. reported a direct relationship between body weight and bone mineral density. Their studies emphasize the importance of maintaining adequate nutrition and suggest that simple weight cut-offs for men and women could be used to predict osteoporosis.

Bone Geometry and Architecture Change with Age

In any complex structure, geometry and architecture are important determinants of strength. Bone is no exception. That is why studies from IOF President Pierre Delmas and colleagues at the INSERM, Claude Bernard University of Lyon, France, may lead to better understanding of bone fragility. In separate presentations, lead authors Stephanie Boutroy and Elizabeth Sornay-Rendu report that gradual remodelling may change the overall architecture of bones as pre-menopausal women age (see conference Abstract No. OC16), while in post-menopausal women similar architectural changes correlate with fragility fractures (see conference Abstract No. OC6).

Changes in bone geometry and micro-architecture in young women have not been well studied to date, but the new findings indicate that there may be two distinct types of bone remodelling related to aging. Studying the tibia, the larger of the two calf bones, Boutroy and colleagues found that though older pre-menopausal women have an increase in bone size, there is no change in the thickness of the cortical layer, or tough envelope, that makes up the bone circumference. They also found that spo

Contact: Andrew Leopold
International Osteoporosis Foundation

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