Latest Issue of Science News


Calculated Risk: Shedding light on fracture hazards in elderly

When doctors evaluate an older person who has fallen and broken a bone, they immediately look for signs of osteoporosis, the brittle-bone disease. Conventional wisdom holds that low bone-mineral density, the hallmark of osteoporosis, is chiefly responsible for fractures when elderly people fall from a standing position. But when an elderly person breaks a bone in a high-trauma accident, such as a car crash or a fall from a ladder, doctors don't usually check bone density.

A new study shows that bone density can play a role in high-trauma accidents too. Participants who sustained a fracture from serious trauma had, on average, significantly lower bone density to begin with than did those who didn't get fractures.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.