Calculated Risk: Shedding light on fracture hazards in elderly | Science News


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Calculated Risk: Shedding light on fracture hazards in elderly

1:16pm, November 28, 2007

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.

In another study, scientists seeking to identify women at risk of hip fracture have developed an algorithm that estimates a patient's 5-year risk of this injury from ordinar

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