In a study of children with cystic fibrosis, French researchers found evidence of very early onset defective bone mineralization in the lumbar spine that was not caused by either nutritional status or lung disease. The lumbar spine is that part of the back between the ribs and the pelvis.
The results of the study, which included children from the age of 2 to puberty, appear in the first issue for May 2007 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.
Isabelle Sermet-Gaudelus, M.D., Ph.D., of the Service de Pdiatrie Gnrale, Hpital Necker-Enfants Malades in Paris, and nine associates studied 25 children with cystic fibrosis (CF) younger than six years, 53 prepubertal children with CF aged six to 10, and 36 adolescents 11 to 18 with the disease.
They found that ideal weight for height, fat-free mass and fat mass values decreased significantly as the children aged. Also, pulmonary disease severity increased significantly, mainly in adolescents, as shown by the higher proportion of CF patients colonized with P.auruginosa (gram negative bacteria) and by lower lung function test values.
Among white persons in the U.S., CF is the most common hereditary problem that can lead to death at a relatively early age. The illness causes certain glands to produce abnormal secretions that affect the digestive tract and plug the lungs with mucus. About 1 in every 2,500 white babies is born with this difficulty. The disease is much less common in Blacks and Asians.
The authors believe that their observations of a reduction in bone mineral density, even in healthy children in early childhood, provide an argument for an initial CF defect in primary bone, which can be aggravated by additional disease factors such as low fat-free mass, excessive inflammation, poor nutritional status and low vitamin D levels.