Current osteoporosis screening tests may miss as many as two out of three women at risk of the bone-thinning disease, a new UCLA study suggests.
In new research published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, medical experts from the University of California-Los Angeles found the guidelines recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on osteoporosis screenings are not adequate, and may not help doctors identify the majority of women — aged 50 to 64 years — who would benefit from therapy.
As a result, following the strategy may lead to missed opportunities to decrease fracture risk in at-risk women, the researchers said.
Women who are 65 and older routinely undergo bone-density testing to screen for osteoporosis. But for younger women, it has been unclear who should be screened.
For the study, researchers led by Carolyn Crandall, M.D., a professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, sought to determine the effectiveness of the current screening strategy recommended by the PSTF — the independent expert panel appointed by the federal government to review and recommend various screenings.
By tracking medical records of women participating in the long-running federally funded Women's Health Initiative study, Dr. Crandall's team found that the current strategy only identifies 34 percent of women who actually had bone-mineral density in the osteoporosis range.
The study was funded, in part, by the NIH's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
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