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February 17, 1989

`Senile' Osteoporosis Reconsidered

JAMA. 1989;261(7):1025-1029. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420070075034

Osteoporosis is a devastating, morbid, and costly condition whose ravages are felt most profoundly by women over age 70 years. Yet most research on its prevention and treatment has focused on perimenopausal women, although there are significant differences between perimenopausal and older women in factors related to bone mineral metabolism, rates of bone loss, the structural integrity of remaining bone, risk factors for fractures, and the types of fractures sustained. Currently recommended therapies, which slow bone loss in perimenopausal women, may be of less benefit for older women whose loss of bone has already slowed or ceased and whose remaining bone may be of inadequate quantity and quality to prevent fracture. Thus, the application of currently available modalities is unlikely to mitigate significantly the consequences of osteoporosis in this population. Further research is urgently needed, and some directions for future investigation are suggested.

(JAMA 1989;261:1025-1029)