Depression linked with osteoporosis in young women

November 30th, 2009 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 30 (IANS) Research has shown a clear connection between depression and a loss of bone mass, leading to osteoporosis and fractures.
The study led by Raz Yirmiya, head of the brain and behaviour lab at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ), and Itai Bab, head of the bone lab, found that a link between depression and bone loss is particularly strong among young women.

Osteoporosis is the most widespread degenerative disease in the developed world, afflicting one out of three women and one in five men over 50.

Sufferers experience decrease in bone density, which often leads to bone fractures. In many cases, these fractures cause severe disability and even death.

Researchers assessed data from 23 research projects conducted in eight countries, comparing bone density among 2,327 people suffering from depression against 21,141 non-depressed individuals.

The results show clearly that depressed individuals have a substantially lower bone density than non-depressed people — that depression is associated with a markedly elevated activity of cells that break down bone (osteoclasts).

Yirmiya and Bab found that the association between depression and bone loss was stronger in women than men, especially young women before the end of their monthly period, said an HUJ release.

Yirmiya and Bab propose that all individuals psychiatrically diagnosed with major depression are at risk for developing osteoporosis, with depressed young women showing the highest risk.

These findings were published in Biological Psychiatry.

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