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Measurement of spinal or peripheral bone mass to estimate early postmenopausal bone loss?

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      Abstract

      This report presents data from 153 healthy, early postmenopausal women who were randomly allocated to two years of treatment with estrogen or placebo. Bone mineral content in the forearms was measured by single-photon absorptiometry, and bone mineral density of the lumbar spine and total-body bone mineral by dual-photon absorptiometry, before and after one and two years of treatment. At the end of the two years, there were highly significant differences of 6 to 7 percent between the estrogen and the placebo groups at all sites measured. The range of the changes of the spine measurement was twice that of the forearm and total-body measurements. It is concluded that measurement of the forearm by single-photon absorptiometry is superior to measurement of the spine by dual-photon absorptiometry both in clinical studies and in the individual patient for detecting estrogen-dependent bone loss and its treatment by estrogen replacement.
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