Study reveals early bone damage from anorexia

Anorexia can damage bone structure before it leads to loss of bone mineral density (BMD), an imaging study has shown.

Researchers used CT and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans to compare the BMD and bone microarchitecture in 10 girls with anorexia nervosa and 10 normal weight girls.

They found that although BMD scores did not differ across the two groups, there was significant damage to bone microarchitecture in girls with the condition.

The researchers warn that 'reassuring' BMD values may not reflect the true status of bone health in anorexic patients.

'Given the increasing prevalence of anorexia nervosa and its profound consequences on bone health, these results may have major implications in the treatment and follow-up of patients,' the researchers said.

'It will be important to determine whether therapies that increase BMD will concomitantly improve bone structure in this patient population,' they added.

  • Radiology 2008; 249: 938-46.

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