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Small Changes in Bone Mineral Density Can Reduce Hip Fracture Risk

Small improvements in femoral neck BMD coincided with significant reduction in incidence of hip fracture in men and women

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 8, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Small changes in bone mineral density (BMD) across populations can lead to a reduction in the incidence of hip fractures, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Noting that it has been postulated that a population-based measure bringing small benefit to each individual can yield large benefits, Thach S. Tran, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Technology in Sydney, and colleagues quantified the relationship between change in BMD and hip fracture incidence in two prospective cohorts separated by about 10 years. Participants aged 60 years and older were recruited in two waves: the initial cohort in 1989 to 1992 (1,311 women, 842 men) and the second cohort in 1999 to 2001 (974 women and 544 men). Femoral neck BMD was collected twice per year.

The researchers found that the second cohort had a higher femoral neck BMD by about 0.04 and 0.03 g/cm2 in women and men, respectively, compared with the initial cohort. The prevalence of osteoporosis was halved in the second cohort (prevalence ratios, 0.51 and 0.45 in women and men, respectively), and the incidence of hip fracture was reduced (hazard ratios, 0.54 and 0.39 for women and men, respectively). The effect was considered unlikely to be due to unmeasured confounders by sensitivity analyses.

“Some people who are following medication regimens or engaging in lifestyle modification programs and notice a slight change in bone mineral density might believe that these measures hold little benefit for them. Nonetheless, even these minor effects can lead to a substantial reduction in fracture risk for the community,” coauthor Tuan Nguyen, D.Sc., Ph.D., also from the University of Technology in Sydney, said in a statement.

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