[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 6, 1982

Premature bone loss found in some nonmenstruating sportswomen

JAMA. 1982;248(5):513-514. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330050003001

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Are some young female athletes in danger of developing early osteoporosis? This unsettling question was raised at the recent Endocrine Society meeting in San Francisco by a group from that city's University of California (UCSF) School of Medicine.

Christopher E. Cann, PhD, of UCSF's Department of Radiology, reported on a study of 25 amenorrheic patients, aged 19 to 49 years, of whom seven, who were not runners, had hyperprolactinemia secondary to prolactinomas. Six additional women were runners with so-called hypothalamic amenorrhea. The remainder of the group, all nonrunners, had primary ovarian failure (premature menopause).

Cann and associates found that the women in all of the subgroups had comparable bone loss, as measured by a quantitative computed tomographic technique for assessing vertebral mineral content that the investigators have described in JAMA (1980;244:2056-2059). The total group of 25 had a mean of 28% less bone mass than 45 age-matched control subjects.