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1.  The Risk of Fractures Associated with Thiazolidinediones: A Self-controlled Case-Series Study 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(9):e1000154.
Ian Douglas and colleagues analyze records from the UK General Practice Research Database, and find that among individuals prescribed thiazolidinediones who develop a fracture, fractures are more common during periods of thiazolidinedione exposure than unexposed periods.
Background
The results of clinical trials have suggested that the thiazolidinedione antidiabetic agents rosiglitazone and pioglitazone are associated with an increased risk of fractures, but such studies had limited power. The increased risk in these trials appeared to be limited to women and mainly involved fractures of the arm, wrist, hand, or foot: risk patterns that could not be readily explained. Our objective was to further investigate the risk of fracture associated with thiazolidinedione use.
Methods and Findings
The self-controlled case-series design was used to compare rates of fracture during thiazolidinedione exposed and unexposed periods and thus estimate within-person rate ratios. We used anonymised primary care data from the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database (GPRD). All patients aged 40 y or older with a recorded fracture and at least one prescription for a thiazolidinedione were included (n = 1,819). We found a within-person rate ratio of 1.43 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.25–1.62) for fracture at any site comparing exposed with unexposed periods among patients prescribed any thiazolidinedione. This association was similar in men and women and in patients treated with either rosiglitazone or pioglitazone. The increased risk was also evident at a range of fracture sites, including hip, spine, arm, foot, wrist, or hand. The risk increased with increasing duration of thiazolidinedione exposure: rate ratio 2.00 (95% CI 1.48–2.70) for 4 y or more of exposure.
Conclusion
Within individuals who experience a fracture, fracture risk is increased during periods of exposure to thiazolidinediones (both rosiglitazone and pioglitazone) compared with unexposed periods. The increased risk is observed in both men and women and at a range of fracture sites. The risk also increases with longer duration of use.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Worldwide, nearly 250 million people have diabetes and this number is increasing rapidly, particularly in developing countries. Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by dangerous amounts of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Blood-sugar levels are normally controlled by insulin, a hormone that the pancreas releases when blood-sugar levels rise after eating (the digestion of food produces glucose). Blood-sugar control fails in people with diabetes because they make no insulin (type 1 diabetes) or because the fat cells and muscle cells that usually respond to insulin by removing sugar from the blood have become insulin insensitive (type 2 diabetes). Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin injections; type 2 diabetes—the most common type of diabetes—is controlled with diet, exercise, and antidiabetic pills, drugs that help the pancreas make more insulin (for example, sulfonylureas) or that make cells more sensitive to insulin (for example, thiazolidinediones). Long-term complications of diabetes include kidney failure, blindness, and nerve damage, and an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems, including heart disease and strokes.
Why Was This Study Done?
Thiazolidinediones are widely used to treat type 2 diabetes but, worryingly, these drugs seem to increase people's risk of developing cardiovascular problems. In addition, they may increase the risk of bone fractures although the evidence for this particular association is limited. Given the large number of people with diabetes, it is important to understand the benefits and risks of thiazolidinedione treatment of diabetes as fully as possible. In this self-controlled case-series study, therefore, the researchers investigate the risk of fracture associated with the use of rosiglitazone and pioglitazone (two thiazolidinedione antidiabetic agents). A “self-controlled case-series study” compares how often an event (in this case, a fracture) occurs (the event's “rate”) in a population of individuals during a period of time when the individuals are not exposed to a medical intervention (in this case, treatment with thiazolidinediones) to its rate during a period when they are exposed to the intervention. Because each person acts as their own control, this study design helps to eliminate the possibility that unrecognized characteristics that vary between people (“confounders”) are responsible for differences in the event rate rather than the intervention itself.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 1,819 people aged 40 years or older with a recorded fracture and at least one prescription for a thiazolidinedione by searching the UK General Practice Research Database, which contains personal and health data for more than 6 million UK residents. They compared these people's fracture rate during periods when they were taking a thiazolidinedione to their fracture rate when they weren't taking one of these drugs. After adjusting for age (age is a potential confounder because the risk of fractures increases with age and all the patients were older during their exposed period than during their unexposed period), the rate ratio for fracture at any site in patients during thiazolidinedione-exposed periods compared with thiazolidinedione-unexposed periods was 1.43. That is, nearly one and half times as many fractures occurred when people were taking thiazolidinediones than when they were not taking these drugs. The association between taking thiazolidinediones and the risk of fracture was similar in men and women and at several fracture sites but increased with the length of thiazolidinedione exposure.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that taking thiazolidinediones is associated with an increased risk of fracture at a wide range of sites in both men and women. They also suggest that the risk of fracture increases with treatment duration. These findings do not prove that thiazolidinediones cause fractures because, despite the self-controlled case-series design of this study, it remains possible that the people who have fractures share some unknown characteristic that affects their chances of breaking a bone. The accuracy of the findings is also dependent on the quality of the data in the General Practice Research Database. Nonetheless, these results are in keeping with the findings of clinical trials and other observational studies, suggesting they represent a real effect of treatment with thiazolidinediones. Although it is not clear yet how thiazolidinediones weaken bones, these findings need to be included in the ongoing debate about the risks and benefits of the treatment of type 2 diabetes with thiazolidinediones.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000154.
The International Diabetes Federation provides information about all aspects of diabetes
The US National Diabetes Information ClearingHouse provides detailed information about diabetes (including information on medicines for diabetes) for patients, health-care professionals, and the general public (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service also provides information for patients and carers about type 2 diabetes (in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources and advice about diabetes and diabetes medicines (in English and Spanish)
Information about the UK General Practice Research Database and about the self-controlled case-series method is available
More information is available where the research was done at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000154
PMCID: PMC2741577  PMID: 19787025
2.  Hip Fracture Incidence in Relation to Age, Menopausal Status, and Age at Menopause: Prospective Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(11):e1000181.
Using data from the UK Million Women Study, Emily Banks and colleagues investigate the relationships between the incidence of hip fracture and a woman's age, menopausal status, and age at menopause.
Background
Bone mineral density is known to decrease rapidly after the menopause. There is limited evidence about the separate contributions of a woman's age, menopausal status and age at menopause to the incidence of hip fracture.
Methods and Findings
Over one million middle-aged women joined the UK Million Women Study in 1996–2001 providing information on their menopausal status, age at menopause, and other factors, which was updated, where possible, 3 y later. All women were registered with the UK National Health Service (NHS) and were routinely linked to information on cause-specific admissions to NHS hospitals. 561,609 women who had never used hormone replacement therapy and who provided complete information on menopausal variables (at baseline 25% were pre/perimenopausal and 75% postmenopausal) were followed up for a total of 3.4 million woman-years (an average 6.2 y per woman). During follow-up 1,676 (0.3%) were admitted to hospital with a first incident hip fracture. Among women aged 50–54 y the relative risk (RR) of hip fracture risk was significantly higher in postmenopausal than premenopausal women (adjusted RR 2.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.22–4.04; p = 0.009); there were too few premenopausal women aged 55 y and over for valid comparisons. Among postmenopausal women, hip fracture incidence increased steeply with age (p<0.001), with rates being about seven times higher at age 70–74 y than at 50–54 y (incidence rates of 0.82 versus 0.11 per 100 women over 5 y). Among postmenopausal women of a given age there was no significant difference in hip fracture incidence between women whose menopause was due to bilateral oophorectomy compared to a natural menopause (adjusted RR 1.20, 95% CI 0.94–1.55; p = 0.15), and age at menopause had little, if any, effect on hip fracture incidence.
Conclusions
At around the time of the menopause, hip fracture incidence is about twice as high in postmenopausal than in premenopausal women, but this effect is short lived. Among postmenopausal women, age is by far the main determinant of hip fracture incidence and, for women of a given age, their age at menopause has, at most, a weak additional effect.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Anyone can break a hip but most hip fractures occur in elderly people. As people age, their bones gradually lose minerals and become less dense, which weakens the bones and makes them more susceptible to fracture. Because women lose bone density faster than men as they age and because women constitute the majority of the elderly, three-quarters of hip fractures occur in women. Hip fractures can cause long-term health problems and premature death. Thus, although surgical repair of a broken hip usually only requires a hospital stay of about a week, a quarter of elderly people who were living independently before their fracture have to stay in a nursing home for at least a year after their injury and a fifth of elderly people who break a hip die within the year. Most hip fractures are caused by falls. Regular exercise to improve strength and balance combined with review of medicines (to reduce side effects and interactions), regular eye examinations, and the removal of fall hazards from the home can help to prevent hip fractures in elderly people.
Why Was This Study Done?
Bone density decreases very rapidly in women immediately after menopause—the time when menstruation permanently stops—and then continues to decrease more slowly with age. Most women have their menopause in their early 50s but menopause can occur in younger women. Early menopause is thought to be a risk factor for osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) and fractures later in life but little is known about how menopause influences hip fracture risk as women age. In this prospective study (a type of study in which a group of people is followed for several years to see whether they develop a particular condition), the researchers investigate the incidence of hip fractures in relation to age, menopausal status, and age at menopause among the participants of the Million Women Study. This study, which recruited 1.3 million women aged 50–64 years who attended UK breast cancer screening clinics between 1996 and 2001, has been investigating how reproductive and lifestyle factors affect women's health.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
At enrollment and three years later, the study participants provided information about their menopausal status and other health and lifestyle factors likely to affect their fracture risk. From these data, the researchers identified more than half a million women who had never used hormone replacement therapy (which reduces fracture risk) and who had given complete information about their menopausal status. They then looked for statistical associations between the occurrence of a first hip fracture in these women over the next few years and their age, menopausal status, and age at menopause. Among women aged 50–54 years, postmenopausal women were twice as likely to have a hip fracture as premenopausal women. Among postmenopausal women, the incidence of hip fractures increased steeply with age and was seven times higher in 70–74-year olds than in 50–54-year olds. Women who had their menopause before age 45 had a slightly increased risk of hip fracture but any effect of age at menopause on the risk of hip fracture was small compared to the effect of age itself, and the slightly increased risk may have been due to other factors that could not be fully accounted for in the analysis.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that around the time of menopause, although hip fractures are rare, the risk of a fracture in postmenopausal women is twice that in premenopausal women. The findings also show that among postmenopausal women, age is the major determinant of hip fracture risk and that for women of a given age, their age at menopause has little effect on hip fracture risk. Women attending breast cancer screening clinics and completing questionnaires about their health may not be representative of the general population. Furthermore, these findings rely on women self-reporting their menopausal status accurately. Nevertheless, the results of this study suggest that clinicians advising women about hip fracture prevention should probably base their advice on the woman's age and on age-related factors such as frailty rather than on factors related to menopause. Clinicians can also now reassure elderly women who had an early menopause that their risk of hip fracture is unlikely to be higher than that of similar women who had a later menopause.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000181.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has detailed information about hip fractures
The US National Institute of Arthritis and Muscoloskeletal and Skin Diseases has an interactive feature called “Check up on your bones and provides detailed information about osteoporosis, including advice on fall prevention
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a fact sheet about hip fractures among older adults
MedlinePlus has links to resources about hip fracture, osteoporosis, and menopause (in English and Spanish)
More information on the Million Women Study is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000181
PMCID: PMC2766835  PMID: 19901981
3.  Vitamin K Supplementation in Postmenopausal Women with Osteopenia (ECKO Trial): A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):1-12.
Background
Vitamin K has been widely promoted as a supplement for decreasing bone loss in postmenopausal women, but the long-term benefits and potential harms are unknown. This study was conducted to determine whether daily high-dose vitamin K1 supplementation safely reduces bone loss, bone turnover, and fractures.
Methods and Findings
This single-center study was designed as a 2-y randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, extended for earlier participants for up to an additional 2 y because of interest in long-term safety and fractures. A total of 440 postmenopausal women with osteopenia were randomized to either 5 mg of vitamin K1 or placebo daily. Primary outcomes were changes in BMD at the lumbar spine and total hip at 2 y. Secondary outcomes included changes in BMD at other sites and other time points, bone turnover markers, height, fractures, adverse effects, and health-related quality of life. This study has a power of 90% to detect 3% differences in BMD between the two groups. The women in this study were vitamin D replete, with a mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 77 nmol/l at baseline. Over 2 y, BMD decreased by −1.28% and −1.22% (p = 0.84) (difference of −0.06%; 95% confidence interval [CI] −0.67% to 0.54%) at the lumbar spine and −0.69% and −0.88% (p = 0.51) (difference of 0.19%; 95% CI −0.37% to 0.75%) at the total hip in the vitamin K and placebo groups, respectively. There were no significant differences in changes in BMD at any site between the two groups over the 2- to 4-y period. Daily vitamin K1 supplementation increased serum vitamin K1 levels by 10-fold, and decreased the percentage of undercarboxylated osteocalcin and total osteocalcin levels (bone formation marker). However, C-telopeptide levels (bone resorption marker) were not significantly different between the two groups. Fewer women in the vitamin K group had clinical fractures (nine versus 20, p = 0.04) and fewer had cancers (three versus 12, p = 0.02). Vitamin K supplements were well-tolerated over the 4-y period. There were no significant differences in adverse effects or health-related quality of life between the two groups. The study was not powered to examine fractures or cancers, and their numbers were small.
Conclusions
Daily 5 mg of vitamin K1 supplementation for 2 to 4 y does not protect against age-related decline in BMD, but may protect against fractures and cancers in postmenopausal women with osteopenia. More studies are needed to further examine the effect of vitamin K on fractures and cancers.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov (#NCT00150969) and Current Controlled Trials (#ISRCTN61708241)
Angela Cheung and colleagues investigate whether vitamin K1 can prevent bone loss among postmenopausal women with osteopenia.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the bones gradually become less dense and more likely to break. In the US, 10 million people have osteoporosis and 18 million have osteopenia, a milder condition that precedes osteoporosis. In both conditions, insufficient new bone is made and/or too much old bone is absorbed. Although bone appears solid and unchanging, very little bone in the human body is more than 10 y old. Old bone is continually absorbed and new bone built using calcium, phosphorous, and proteins. Because the sex hormones control calcium and phosphorous deposition in the bones and thus bone strength, the leading cause of osteoporosis in women is reduced estrogen levels after menopause. In men, an age-related decline in testosterone levels can cause osteoporosis. Most people discover they have osteoporosis only when they break a bone, but the condition can be diagnosed and monitored using bone mineral density (BMD) scans. Treatments can slow down or reverse bone loss (antiresorptive therapies) and some (bone formation therapies) can even make bone and build bone tissue.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although regular exercise and a healthy diet can help to keep bones strong, other ways of preventing osteoporosis are badly needed. Recently, the lay media has promoted vitamin K supplements as a way to reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women. Vitamin K (which is found mainly in leafy green vegetables) is required for a chemical modification of proteins called carboxylation. This modification is essential for the activity of three bone-building proteins. In addition, there is some evidence that low bone density and fractures are associated with a low vitamin K intake. However, little is known about the long-term benefits or harms of vitamin K supplements. In this study, the researchers investigate whether a high-dose daily vitamin K supplement can safely reduce bone loss, bone turnover, and fractures in postmenopausal women with osteopenia in a randomized controlled trial called the “Evaluation of the Clinical Use of Vitamin K Supplementation in Post-Menopausal Women With Osteopenia” (ECKO) trial.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In the study, 440 postmenopausal women with osteopenia were randomized to receive 5mg of vitamin K1 (the type of vitamin K in North American food; the recommended daily adult intake of vitamin K1 is about 0.1 mg) or an inactive tablet (placebo) daily for 2 y; 261 of the women continued their treatment for 2 y to gather information about the long-term effects of vitamin K1 supplementation. All the women had regular bone density scans of their lower back and hips and were examined for fractures and for changes in bone turnover. After 2 y and after 4 y, lower back and hip bone density measurements had decreased by similar amounts in both treatment groups. The women who took vitamin K1 had 10-fold higher amounts of vitamin K1 in their blood than the women who took placebo and lower amounts of a bone formation marker; the levels of a bone resorption marker were similar in both groups. Over the 4-y period, fewer women in the vitamin K group had fractures (nine versus 20 women in the placebo group), and fewer had cancer (three versus 12). Finally, vitamin K supplementation was well tolerated over the 4-y period and adverse health effects were similar in the two treatment groups.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that a high daily dose of vitamin K1 provides no protection against the age-related decline in bone density in postmenopausal women with osteopenia, but that vitamin K1 supplementation may protect against fractures and cancers in these women. The apparent contradiction between the effects of vitamin K1 on bone density and on fractures could mean that vitamin K1 supplements strengthen bone by changing factors other than bone density, e.g., by changing its fine structure rather than making it denser. However, because so few study participants had fractures, the difference in the fracture rate between the two treatment groups might have occurred by chance. Larger studies are therefore needed to examine the effect of vitamin K1 on fractures (and on cancer) and, until these are done, high-dose vitamin K1 supplementation should not be recommended for the prevention of osteoporosis.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050196.
The US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases provides detailed information about osteoporosis (in English and Spanish) and links to other resources, including an interactive web tool called Check Up On Your Bones
MedlinePlus provides links to additional information about osteoporosis (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page about vitamin K
The UK Food Standards Agency provides information about vitamin K
Full details about the ECKO trial are available on the ClinicalTrials.gov Web site
The Canadian Task Force for Preventive Health Care provides recommendations on the prevention of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women
Osteoporosis Canada provides information on current topics related to osteoporosis
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050196
PMCID: PMC2566998  PMID: 18922041
4.  The Utility and Limitations of FRAX: A US Perspective 
Current Osteoporosis Reports  2010;8(4):192-197.
The FRAX calculator is a major achievement in terms of our understanding of measuring fracture risk. Along with being an easily accessible web-based tool, it is the only model based on extensive data on multiple cohorts. FRAX will help clinicians identify individuals who need osteoporosis treatments, while also screening out those who do not require osteoporosis treatments. However, FRAX is limited by a number of factors. Although it is web based, few physicians have the means to access it. It also assumes that body mass index and mortality are constant across different racial and ethnic groups. FRAX is further limited by the exclusion of variables known to be associated with fracture risk, lack of dose-response relationships for variables, increased subsequent fracture risk after initial fracture, restriction to only one bone mineral density site, racial and ethnic differences that may influence fracture risk, and availability of racial and ethnic fracture risk data to be used in the FRAX calculator. Finally, the values obtained from FRAX should not take the place of good clinical judgment.
doi:10.1007/s11914-010-0032-1
PMCID: PMC2947011  PMID: 20811963
Osteoporosis; FRAX; Fracture risk; Fracture
5.  Utilization of DXA Bone Mineral Densitometry in Ontario 
Executive Summary
Issue
Systematic reviews and analyses of administrative data were performed to determine the appropriate use of bone mineral density (BMD) assessments using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and the associated trends in wrist and hip fractures in Ontario.
Background
Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Bone Mineral Density Assessment
Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry bone densitometers measure bone density based on differential absorption of 2 x-ray beams by bone and soft tissues. It is the gold standard for detecting and diagnosing osteoporosis, a systemic disease characterized by low bone density and altered bone structure, resulting in low bone strength and increased risk of fractures. The test is fast (approximately 10 minutes) and accurate (exceeds 90% at the hip), with low radiation (1/3 to 1/5 of that from a chest x-ray). DXA densitometers are licensed as Class 3 medical devices in Canada. The World Health Organization has established criteria for osteoporosis and osteopenia based on DXA BMD measurements: osteoporosis is defined as a BMD that is >2.5 standard deviations below the mean BMD for normal young adults (i.e. T-score <–2.5), while osteopenia is defined as BMD that is more than 1 standard deviation but less than 2.5 standard deviation below the mean for normal young adults (i.e. T-score< –1 & ≥–2.5). DXA densitometry is presently an insured health service in Ontario.
Clinical Need
 
Burden of Disease
The Canadian Multicenter Osteoporosis Study (CaMos) found that 16% of Canadian women and 6.6% of Canadian men have osteoporosis based on the WHO criteria, with prevalence increasing with age. Osteopenia was found in 49.6% of Canadian women and 39% of Canadian men. In Ontario, it is estimated that nearly 530,000 Ontarians have some degrees of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis-related fragility fractures occur most often in the wrist, femur and pelvis. These fractures, particularly those in the hip, are associated with increased mortality, and decreased functional capacity and quality of life. A Canadian study showed that at 1 year after a hip fracture, the mortality rate was 20%. Another 20% required institutional care, 40% were unable to walk independently, and there was lower health-related quality of life due to attributes such as pain, decreased mobility and decreased ability to self-care. The cost of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures in Canada was estimated to be $1.3 billion in 1993.
Guidelines for Bone Mineral Density Testing
With 2 exceptions, almost all guidelines address only women. None of the guidelines recommend blanket population-based BMD testing. Instead, all guidelines recommend BMD testing in people at risk of osteoporosis, predominantly women aged 65 years or older. For women under 65 years of age, BMD testing is recommended only if one major or two minor risk factors for osteoporosis exist. Osteoporosis Canada did not restrict its recommendations to women, and thus their guidelines apply to both sexes. Major risk factors are age greater than or equal to 65 years, a history of previous fractures, family history (especially parental history) of fracture, and medication or disease conditions that affect bone metabolism (such as long-term glucocorticoid therapy). Minor risk factors include low body mass index, low calcium intake, alcohol consumption, and smoking.
Current Funding for Bone Mineral Density Testing
The Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) Schedule presently reimburses DXA BMD at the hip and spine. Measurements at both sites are required if feasible. Patients at low risk of accelerated bone loss are limited to one BMD test within any 24-month period, but there are no restrictions on people at high risk. The total fee including the professional and technical components for a test involving 2 or more sites is $106.00 (Cdn).
Method of Review
This review consisted of 2 parts. The first part was an analysis of Ontario administrative data relating to DXA BMD, wrist and hip fractures, and use of antiresorptive drugs in people aged 65 years and older. The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences extracted data from the OHIP claims database, the Canadian Institute for Health Information hospital discharge abstract database, the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System, and the Ontario Drug Benefit database using OHIP and ICD-10 codes. The data was analyzed to examine the trends in DXA BMD use from 1992 to 2005, and to identify areas requiring improvement.
The second part included systematic reviews and analyses of evidence relating to issues identified in the analyses of utilization data. Altogether, 8 reviews and qualitative syntheses were performed, consisting of 28 published systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses, 34 randomized controlled trials, and 63 observational studies.
Findings of Utilization Analysis
Analysis of administrative data showed a 10-fold increase in the number of BMD tests in Ontario between 1993 and 2005.
OHIP claims for BMD tests are presently increasing at a rate of 6 to 7% per year. Approximately 500,000 tests were performed in 2005/06 with an age-adjusted rate of 8,600 tests per 100,000 population.
Women accounted for 90 % of all BMD tests performed in the province.
In 2005/06, there was a 2-fold variation in the rate of DXA BMD tests across local integrated health networks, but a 10-fold variation between the county with the highest rate (Toronto) and that with the lowest rate (Kenora). The analysis also showed that:
With the increased use of BMD, there was a concomitant increase in the use of antiresorptive drugs (as shown in people 65 years and older) and a decrease in the rate of hip fractures in people age 50 years and older.
Repeat BMD made up approximately 41% of all tests. Most of the people (>90%) who had annual BMD tests in a 2-year or 3-year period were coded as being at high risk for osteoporosis.
18% (20,865) of the people who had a repeat BMD within a 24-month period and 34% (98,058) of the people who had one BMD test in a 3-year period were under 65 years, had no fracture in the year, and coded as low-risk.
Only 19% of people age greater than 65 years underwent BMD testing and 41% received osteoporosis treatment during the year following a fracture.
Men accounted for 24% of all hip fractures and 21 % of all wrist fractures, but only 10% of BMD tests. The rates of BMD tests and treatment in men after a fracture were only half of those in women.
In both men and women, the rate of hip and wrist fractures mainly increased after age 65 with the sharpest increase occurring after age 80 years.
Findings of Systematic Review and Analysis
Serial Bone Mineral Density Testing for People Not Receiving Osteoporosis Treatment
A systematic review showed that the mean rate of bone loss in people not receiving osteoporosis treatment (including postmenopausal women) is generally less than 1% per year. Higher rates of bone loss were reported for people with disease conditions or on medications that affect bone metabolism. In order to be considered a genuine biological change, the change in BMD between serial measurements must exceed the least significant change (variability) of the testing, ranging from 2.77% to 8% for precisions ranging from 1% to 3% respectively. Progression in BMD was analyzed, using different rates of baseline BMD values, rates of bone loss, precision, and BMD value for initiating treatment. The analyses showed that serial BMD measurements every 24 months (as per OHIP policy for low-risk individuals) is not necessary for people with no major risk factors for osteoporosis, provided that the baseline BMD is normal (T-score ≥ –1), and the rate of bone loss is less than or equal to 1% per year. The analyses showed that for someone with a normal baseline BMD and a rate of bone loss of less than 1% per year, the change in BMD is not likely to exceed least significant change (even for a 1% precision) in less than 3 years after the baseline test, and is not likely to drop to a BMD level that requires initiation of treatment in less than 16 years after the baseline test.
Serial Bone Mineral Density Testing in People Receiving Osteoporosis Therapy
Seven published meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 2 recent RCTs on BMD monitoring during osteoporosis therapy showed that although higher increases in BMD were generally associated with reduced risk of fracture, the change in BMD only explained a small percentage of the fracture risk reduction.
Studies showed that some people with small or no increase in BMD during treatment experienced significant fracture risk reduction, indicating that other factors such as improved bone microarchitecture might have contributed to fracture risk reduction.
There is conflicting evidence relating to the role of BMD testing in improving patient compliance with osteoporosis therapy.
Even though BMD may not be a perfect surrogate for reduction in fracture risk when monitoring responses to osteoporosis therapy, experts advised that it is still the only reliable test available for this purpose.
A systematic review conducted by the Medical Advisory Secretariat showed that the magnitude of increases in BMD during osteoporosis drug therapy varied among medications. Although most of the studies yielded mean percentage increases in BMD from baseline that did not exceed the least significant change for a 2% precision after 1 year of treatment, there were some exceptions.
Bone Mineral Density Testing and Treatment After a Fragility Fracture
A review of 3 published pooled analyses of observational studies and 12 prospective population-based observational studies showed that the presence of any prevalent fracture increases the relative risk for future fractures by approximately 2-fold or more. A review of 10 systematic reviews of RCTs and 3 additional RCTs showed that therapy with antiresorptive drugs significantly reduced the risk of vertebral fractures by 40 to 50% in postmenopausal osteoporotic women and osteoporotic men, and 2 antiresorptive drugs also reduced the risk of nonvertebral fractures by 30 to 50%. Evidence from observational studies in Canada and other jurisdictions suggests that patients who had undergone BMD measurements, particularly if a diagnosis of osteoporosis is made, were more likely to be given pharmacologic bone-sparing therapy. Despite these findings, the rate of BMD investigation and osteoporosis treatment after a fracture remained low (<20%) in Ontario as well as in other jurisdictions.
Bone Mineral Density Testing in Men
There are presently no specific Canadian guidelines for BMD screening in men. A review of the literature suggests that risk factors for fracture and the rate of vertebral deformity are similar for men and women, but the mortality rate after a hip fracture is higher in men compared with women. Two bisphosphonates had been shown to reduce the risk of vertebral and hip fractures in men. However, BMD testing and osteoporosis treatment were proportionately low in Ontario men in general, and particularly after a fracture, even though men accounted for 25% of the hip and wrist fractures. The Ontario data also showed that the rates of wrist fracture and hip fracture in men rose sharply in the 75- to 80-year age group.
Ontario-Based Economic Analysis
The economic analysis focused on analyzing the economic impact of decreasing future hip fractures by increasing the rate of BMD testing in men and women age greater than or equal to 65 years following a hip or wrist fracture. A decision analysis showed the above strategy, especially when enhanced by improved reporting of BMD tests, to be cost-effective, resulting in a cost-effectiveness ratio ranging from $2,285 (Cdn) per fracture avoided (worst-case scenario) to $1,981 (Cdn) per fracture avoided (best-case scenario). A budget impact analysis estimated that shifting utilization of BMD testing from the low risk population to high risk populations within Ontario would result in a saving of $0.85 million to $1.5 million (Cdn) to the health system. The potential net saving was estimated at $1.2 million to $5 million (Cdn) when the downstream cost-avoidance due to prevention of future hip fractures was factored into the analysis.
Other Factors for Consideration
There is a lack of standardization for BMD testing in Ontario. Two different standards are presently being used and experts suggest that variability in results from different facilities may lead to unnecessary testing. There is also no requirement for standardized equipment, procedure or reporting format. The current reimbursement policy for BMD testing encourages serial testing in people at low risk of accelerated bone loss. This review showed that biannual testing is not necessary for all cases. The lack of a database to collect clinical data on BMD testing makes it difficult to evaluate the clinical profiles of patients tested and outcomes of the BMD tests. There are ministry initiatives in progress under the Osteoporosis Program to address the development of a mandatory standardized requisition form for BMD tests to facilitate data collection and clinical decision-making. Work is also underway for developing guidelines for BMD testing in men and in perimenopausal women.
Conclusion
Increased use of BMD in Ontario since 1996 appears to be associated with increased use of antiresorptive medication and a decrease in hip and wrist fractures.
Data suggest that as many as 20% (98,000) of the DXA BMD tests in Ontario in 2005/06 were performed in people aged less than 65 years, with no fracture in the current year, and coded as being at low risk for accelerated bone loss; this is not consistent with current guidelines. Even though some of these people might have been incorrectly coded as low-risk, the number of tests in people truly at low risk could still be substantial.
Approximately 4% (21,000) of the DXA BMD tests in 2005/06 were repeat BMDs in low-risk individuals within a 24-month period. Even though this is in compliance with current OHIP reimbursement policies, evidence showed that biannual serial BMD testing is not necessary in individuals without major risk factors for fractures, provided that the baseline BMD is normal (T-score < –1). In this population, BMD measurements may be repeated in 3 to 5 years after the baseline test to establish the rate of bone loss, and further serial BMD tests may not be necessary for another 7 to 10 years if the rate of bone loss is no more than 1% per year. Precision of the test needs to be considered when interpreting serial BMD results.
Although changes in BMD may not be the perfect surrogate for reduction in fracture risk as a measure of response to osteoporosis treatment, experts advised that it is presently the only reliable test for monitoring response to treatment and to help motivate patients to continue treatment. Patients should not discontinue treatment if there is no increase in BMD after the first year of treatment. Lack of response or bone loss during treatment should prompt the physician to examine whether the patient is taking the medication appropriately.
Men and women who have had a fragility fracture at the hip, spine, wrist or shoulder are at increased risk of having a future fracture, but this population is presently under investigated and under treated. Additional efforts have to be made to communicate to physicians (particularly orthopaedic surgeons and family physicians) and the public about the need for a BMD test after fracture, and for initiating treatment if low BMD is found.
Men had a disproportionately low rate of BMD tests and osteoporosis treatment, especially after a fracture. Evidence and fracture data showed that the risk of hip and wrist fractures in men rises sharply at age 70 years.
Some counties had BMD utilization rates that were only 10% of that of the county with the highest utilization. The reasons for low utilization need to be explored and addressed.
Initiatives such as aligning reimbursement policy with current guidelines, developing specific guidelines for BMD testing in men and perimenopausal women, improving BMD reports to assist in clinical decision making, developing a registry to track BMD tests, improving access to BMD tests in remote/rural counties, establishing mechanisms to alert family physicians of fractures, and educating physicians and the public, will improve the appropriate utilization of BMD tests, and further decrease the rate of fractures in Ontario. Some of these initiatives such as developing guidelines for perimenopausal women and men, and developing a standardized requisition form for BMD testing, are currently in progress under the Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy.
PMCID: PMC3379167  PMID: 23074491
6.  Beta-Catenin Signaling Plays a Disparate Role in Different Phases of Fracture Repair: Implications for Therapy to Improve Bone Healing 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(7):e249.
Background
Delayed fracture healing causes substantial disability and usually requires additional surgical treatments. Pharmacologic management to improve fracture repair would substantially improve patient outcome. The signaling pathways regulating bone healing are beginning to be unraveled, and they provide clues into pharmacologic management. The β-catenin signaling pathway, which activates T cell factor (TCF)-dependent transcription, has emerged as a key regulator in embryonic skeletogenesis, positively regulating osteoblasts. However, its role in bone repair is unknown. The goal of this study was to explore the role of β-catenin signaling in bone repair.
Methods and Findings
Western blot analysis showed significant up-regulation of β-catenin during the bone healing process. Using a β-Gal activity assay to observe activation during healing of tibia fractures in a transgenic mouse model expressing a TCF reporter, we found that β-catenin-mediated, TCF-dependent transcription was activated in both bone and cartilage formation during fracture repair. Using reverse transcription-PCR, we observed that several WNT ligands were expressed during fracture repair. Treatment with DKK1 (an antagonist of WNT/β-catenin pathway) inhibited β-catenin signaling and the healing process, suggesting that WNT ligands regulate β-catenin. Healing was significantly repressed in mice conditionally expressing either null or stabilized β-catenin alleles induced by an adenovirus expressing Cre recombinase. Fracture repair was also inhibited in mice expressing osteoblast-specific β-catenin null alleles. In stark contrast, there was dramatically enhanced bone healing in mice expressing an activated form of β-catenin, whose expression was restricted to osteoblasts. Treating mice with lithium activated β-catenin in the healing fracture, but healing was enhanced only when treatment was started subsequent to the fracture.
Conclusions
These results demonstrate that β-catenin functions differently at different stages of fracture repair. In early stages, precise regulation of β-catenin is required for pluripotent mesenchymal cells to differentiate to either osteoblasts or chondrocytes. Once these undifferentiated cells have become committed to the osteoblast lineage, β-catenin positively regulates osteoblasts. This is a different function for β-catenin than has previously been reported during development. Activation of β-catenin by lithium treatment has potential to improve fracture healing, but only when utilized in later phases of repair, after mesenchymal cells have become committed to the osteoblast lineage.
In a study in mice Benjamin Alman and colleagues show that β-catenin functions differently in different stages of fracture repair; moreover, activation of β-catenin by lithium improves fracture healing when used in later phases of repair.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Most people break at least one bone during their life. If the damaged bone is immobilized with a plaster cast or with metal plates and pins, most fractures heal naturally and quickly. Soon after a bone is damaged, cells called pluripotent mesenchymal cells collect at the injury site. Here, they multiply and change (differentiate) into osteoblasts (cells that make bone) and chondrocytes (cells that make cartilage, the dense connective tissue that covers joints). Osteoblasts and chondrocytes mend the fracture by making new bone, a process called ossification. Bone healing involves two types of ossification. In intramembranous ossification, mesenchymal cells and osteoblast progenitor cells make bone directly, forming a hard “callus” within the fracture. In endochondral ossification, mesenchymal cells differentiate into chondrocytes and make cartilage at the fracture site, which osteoblasts turn into bone. Finally, the bone made by both types of ossification is remodeled so that it closely resembles the damaged bone's original shape and strength.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unfortunately, fractures do not always heal efficiently. If healing is delayed, additional surgery may be needed to repair the break. But surgery can be risky, so drug-based ways of encouraging bone repair would be very useful. To develop such treatments, researchers need to understand what controls the differentiation and activity of osteoblasts and chondrocytes during normal healing. In this study, the researchers have investigated the role of the β-catenin signaling pathway in bone repair. This pathway regulates bone formation during embryonic development, a process that closely resembles bone healing. β-catenin is usually degraded rapidly in cells. However, if a member of a particular family of proteins known as the WNT family binds to a WNT receptor on the surface of a cell, β-catenin moves into the cell's nucleus where it interacts with a protein called T cell factor (TCF). This interaction activates the transcription (the copying of DNA into messenger RNA, which is used to make proteins) of numerous genes and alters the behavior of the cell.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers first measured β-catenin levels in mouse and human bones. In both species, much more β-catenin was made in bones undergoing repair than in intact bones. Then they studied TCF reporter mice—animals in which TCF controls the expression of a marker gene. β-catenin-mediated TCF-dependent transcription, they report, was activated during both bone and cartilage formation after a fracture in these mice. Next, the researchers made mice that could be induced to express an inactive form of β-catenin or a stabilized (permanently active) form of β-catenin in all the cells in a bone fracture. Expression of inactive β-catenin slowed the rate of healing but, unexpectedly, so did expression of stabilized β-catenin. Osteoblast-specific expression of inactive β-catenin also delayed bone healing, whereas osteoblast-specific expression of stabilized β-catenin enhanced the process. Finally, treatment of wild-type mice with lithium (which prevents the degradation of β-catenin) enhanced bone healing if given after a fracture, but interfered with it if given before.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that β-catenin signaling (which, the researchers show, is mainly activated by WNT signaling) has different effects at different stages of bone repair. Early in the process, it controls the ratio of osteoblasts and chondrocytes made from the pluripotent mesenchymal cells. Consequently, too much or too little β-catenin interferes with bone healing at this stage. Later on, β-catenin promotes the differentiation of osteoblasts and enhances their ability to make bone, and so too little β-catenin at this stage prevents healing, whereas increased β-catenin levels stimulate healing. These findings need to be confirmed in people before testing agents that affect β-catenin signaling for their effects on human bone healing. Nevertheless, the researchers' final discovery that lithium improves bone healing if given at the right time is particularly encouraging; lithium is widely used to treat one form of depression so could be readily tested in clinical trials.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040249.
MedlinePlus encyclopedia contains pages on broken bones and on bone fracture repair (in English and Spanish)
Wikipedia has pages on bone fracture and on bone healing (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The UK National Health Service Direct encyclopedia provides pages on broken bones
Animations of intramembranous and endochondral ossification are available from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Training and Technology, Province of British Columbia, Canada
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has an informative discussion of fractures
The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto (where the authors of this study are affiliated) has a Web site called SickKids, which contains a page on child physiology, including diagrams of bone development
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040249
PMCID: PMC1950214  PMID: 17676991
7.  Leisure Physical Activity and the Risk of Fracture in Men 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(6):e199.
Background
Data from previous studies are inconsistent, and it is therefore uncertain whether, to what extent, and at what level leisure physical activity influences the risk of osteoporotic fractures in men.
Methods and Findings
A cohort of 2,205 men, 49–51 y of age, was enrolled in a longitudinal, population-based study. Leisure physical activity and other lifestyle habits were established at baseline and at ages 60, 70, 77, and 82 y. During 35 y of follow-up, 482 men had at least one fracture. Cox's proportional hazards regression was used to determine hazard ratios (HRs) of fracture associated with time-dependent physical activity habits and covariates. Men with a sedentary lifestyle (HR 2.56, 95% confidence interval 1.55–4.24) or men who walked or bicycled only for pleasure (HR 1.61, 95% confidence interval 1.10–2.36) had an increased adjusted risk of hip fracture compared with men who participated in regular sports activities for at least 3 h/wk. At the end of follow-up, 8.4% of the men with a high physical activity, 13.3% of the men with a medium physical activity, and 20.5% of the men with a low physical activity had suffered a hip fracture. According to the estimation of population-attributable risk, one third of all hip fractures could be prevented by participation in regular sports activities. High activity also conferred a reduced overall fracture risk.
Conclusions
Our data indicate that regular sports activities can reduce the risk of fractures in older men.
From a large cohort study with 35 years of follow-up, Michaelsson and colleagues conclude that regular sport activities can reduce the risk of fractures in older men.
Editors' Summary
Background.
One of the hazards of old age is that the bones become less dense—and therefore weaker—so when an elderly person falls, the result is often a broken bone. As many as half of all women and a quarter of men older than 50 y will break a bone because of this, and the consequences can be serious, particularly if the hip is broken. The thinning of bones, which is known as osteoporosis, does affect all people as they age, but the degree to which it occurs varies greatly between individuals. A priority area for medical research is finding ways in which osteoporosis can be reduced, with the aim of improving the lives of older people and reducing their risk of “osteoporotic fractures.” It is known that genetic and environmental factors can both play a part in how rapidly osteoporosis develops, but it is generally agreed that personal lifestyle factors are also important. Osteoporosis develops over many years; in most people bone density starts to decline after the age of about 30 y. Preventive action should therefore begin early.
Most research so far has focused on women, who are more at risk as the thinning of their bones increases after the menopause. (Indeed osteoporosis has sometimes been wrongly described as a “woman's disease.”) It is now accepted that women who are more physically active reduce the rate of decline in their bone density and, as a result, are less likely to break bones when they are elderly. There has been little research in men and the results have not been consistent.
Why Was This Study Done?
In order to provide better evidence as to whether men who do more physical activity have fewer osteoporotic fractures than those with lower activity levels, the researchers wanted to complete a study that was larger and was conducted over a longer period of time than previous research.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 1970 and 1973, the researchers invited all those men living in Uppsala, Sweden, who were aged between 49 and 51 y to participate in a health survey. Most of them (2,205) agreed to do so. When the study began, they were asked questions about the amount of physical activity they took outside working hours. They were asked the same questions again when they were aged 60, 70, 77, and 82 y. A record was also kept of the number of fractures the men had suffered during the 35-y study period. (Although some of the men died before the end of the study, about half were still alive at the end.) On the basis of the answers to the questions on physical activity at the start of the study, the researchers divided the men into three categories: those whose lifestyle was considered to be “sedentary,” those whose leisure activities included some walking and cycling, and those who participated in sports for at least 3 h a week. These were referred to as the low, medium, and high activity groups. Over the 35-y period, 428 men had at least one fracture and 134 broke a hip, but there were big differences between the groups—20% of the low-activity men had fractures compared with 13% of those with medium activity and only 8% of those in the high-activity group. In particular, the chance of having a hip fracture was reduced by increased activity.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Taking exercise reduces the risk of an osteoporotic fracture. Participating in sports seems to be particularly effective; the researchers calculate that one-third of fractures could be prevented if men could be persuaded to take part in sports regularly. The researchers do note that the very best evidence always comes from studies where people are assigned at random to receive a particular “treatment” (in this case, it would be exercise) and are compared with others who did not receive the treatment. This is known as a “randomized controlled trial.” Such a trial would be difficult, if not impossible, to organize on this topic, and the approach adopted by the researchers, which is known as a “cohort study,” does provide very strong evidence. There are many other benefits from increased exercise (for example, in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes), and most governments are now promoting sports and other active leisure pursuits. This study adds further weight to support such policies.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040199.g002.
There are many free sources of information about osteoporosis on the Web, and many organizations exist to support people with the condition. For example, the National Osteoporosis Society (UK) has useful information about the condition
In the USA, there is the Nationtal Osteoporosis Foundation (USA)
The equivalent organization in Australia is Osteoporosis Australia
The UK National Health Service's NHS Direct Health Encyclopedia has an entry on osteoporosis
MedlinePlus is an excellent source of information
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040199
PMCID: PMC1892039  PMID: 17579509
8.  Assessment of Bone Quality and Structure 
According to an NIH Consensus Conference in 2001, bone quality is related to various aspects of bone: its micro- and macroarchitecture, turnover, resorption and mineralisation. Radiological imaging techniques can be used to visualise and quantify bone micro- and macroarchitecture in vivo.
Macroarchitecture
The parameters of bone macrostructure can be obtained using various methods: X-rays, DXA, QUS, QCT and MR imaging.
The parameters derived from traditional radiological investigations (such as hip axis length, neck width and neck shaft angle), like Singh indices, have been shown to be of limited usefulness in the diagnosis of osteoporosis and, indeed, have never been accepted as standard diagnostic tools.
Geometrical parameters (e.g. hip axis length, length and width of the neck of the femur) have also been obtained from DXA images of the hip; it has been shown that an increase, of two standard deviations, in hip axis length triples the risk of hip fracture. These measures have been used in numerous studies, but none has been shown, convincingly, to add substantial information to BMD in predicting status or fracture risk.
QUS provides quantitative parameters that are used to establish the properties of bone tissue. This method offers a series of advantages: smaller dimensions, simple and rapid measurements, no need for ionising radiations, as well as low cost compared with DXA and QCT. Consequently, the QUS seems to generate more information on bone fragility, to the extent that, at present, QUS systems are the ones most used in osteoporotic fracture risk prediction. Given the availability of various techniques for evaluating risk fracture, the T-score approach to fracture risk assessment seems to present some shortcomings linked to discrepancies between examined sites and techniques used. Ten-year fracture probability is the best method for determining the threshold for intervention.
QCT images, too, have been used to measure geometrical parameters; it was found that patients with osteoporotic fractures had a greater vertebral axial cross-section than fracture-free patients, and that treatment with parathormone increases the vertebral area. Initial studies have been performed using MRI data to generate geometrical parameters.
Microarchitecture
The microarchitectural parameters of trabecular bone structure have proved to be more useful than bone macroarchitecture measurements in evaluation of bone quality and in distinguishing between patients with and without osteoporotic fractures. Clinical studies have been performed using high-resolution techniques to study trabecular bone architecture; these techniques include multidetector CT, magnetic resonance and in vivo micro-CT. Indeed, using multidetector CT, bone structure measurements were shown to be better than BMD in differentiating between the two patient groups. However, the radiation dose needed to obtain sufficiently high quality images was found to be necessarily rather high, which is thus a potential limitation of this technique. HR-MR imaging, on the other hand, does not involve the use of radiation and is therefore more attractive for scientific studies. It has been used to study trabecular bone architecture in a number of studies, showing a good ability to discriminate between patients with and without osteoporotic fractures. The sites most frequently studied using HR-MR imaging are the distal radius and heel. The disadvantage of MR-based techniques is that the use of standard 1.5 Tesla systems is limited to peripheral parts, like the heel, distal tibia and distal radius, whereas higher magnetic fields (3 Tesla) would allow better visualisation of the trabecular bone structure and examination of more central parts of the skeleton, such as the proximal femur.
In vivo micro-CT is a recently developed imaging technique; initial studies on its ability to quantify the bone microarchitecture of the peripheral skeleton have given good results in terms of reproducibility and also capacity to detect age- and disease-related changes.
In conclusion, in vivo imaging of bone macro- and microarchitecture is possible, and a certain number of studies, geared at the optimisation and clinical application of these techniques, have already been conducted. The NIH in the USA are promoting and supporting the concept of bone quality, which in the future could lead to new diagnostic standards and techniques for analysing bone structure and will probably change the definition of osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3213808
9.  Prediction of absolute risk of fragility fracture at 10 years in a Spanish population: validation of the WHO FRAX ™ tool in Spain 
Background
Age-related bone loss is asymptomatic, and the morbidity of osteoporosis is secondary to the fractures that occur. Common sites of fracture include the spine, hip, forearm and proximal humerus. Fractures at the hip incur the greatest morbidity and mortality and give rise to the highest direct costs for health services. Their incidence increases exponentially with age.
Independently changes in population demography, the age - and sex- specific incidence of osteoporotic fractures appears to be increasing in developing and developed countries. This could mean more than double the expected burden of osteoporotic fractures in the next 50 years.
Methods/Design
To assess the predictive power of the WHO FRAX™ tool to identify the subjects with the highest absolute risk of fragility fracture at 10 years in a Spanish population, a predictive validation study of the tool will be carried out. For this purpose, the participants recruited by 1999 will be assessed. These were referred to scan-DXA Department from primary healthcare centres, non hospital and hospital consultations. Study population: Patients attended in the national health services integrated into a FRIDEX cohort with at least one Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) measurement and one extensive questionnaire related to fracture risk factors. Measurements: At baseline bone mineral density measurement using DXA, clinical fracture risk factors questionnaire, dietary calcium intake assessment, history of previous fractures, and related drugs. Follow up by telephone interview to know fragility fractures in the 10 years with verification in electronic medical records and also to know the number of falls in the last year. The absolute risk of fracture will be estimated using the FRAX™ tool from the official web site.
Discussion
Since more than 10 years ago numerous publications have recognised the importance of other risk factors for new osteoporotic fractures in addition to low BMD. The extension of a method for calculating the risk (probability) of fractures using the FRAX™ tool is foreseeable in Spain and this would justify a study such as this to allow the necessary adjustments in calibration of the parameters included in the logarithmic formula constituted by FRAX™.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-30
PMCID: PMC3224379  PMID: 21272372
10.  Feasibility of FRAX for Prediction of Osteoporotic Vertebral Fractures in Korea 
Asian Spine Journal  2012;6(1):22-28.
Study Design
Retrospective study.
Purpose
To assess the feasibility and limitations of fracture risk assessment tool (FRAX) for osteoporotic vertebral fractures in the Korean population.
Overview of Literature
The FRAX algorithm is country specific and uses clinical risk factor data to calculate an individual patient's 10-year probability of hip fracture and 10-year probability of major osteoporotic fracture. However, it has not been adequately investigated for Korean.
Methods
One hundred ninety four patients who had all risk factor data for the calculation of FRAX were divided into two groups depending on the existence of vertebral fractures: the fracture group was comprised of 88 patients and the non-facture group comprised of 105 patients. We analyzed prediction of the fracture by applying respectively the Korean, Japanese, USA and UK model, and compared their FRAX results by calculating lumbar bone mineral density (BMD) instead of femoral neck BMD.
Results
The prediction of vertebral fracture using FRAX was 10.9 ± 6.2% in the fracture group, 9.5 ± 5.5% of the non-fracture group in the Korean model (p = 0.108); 17.9 ± 10.2% in the fracture group, 14.6 ± 9.0% in the non-fracture group in the Japanese model (p = 0.017). Only the Japanese model exhibited significant difference in vertebral fracture risk. The prediction of vertebral fracture using lumbar BMD instead of femoral neck BMD was 19.5 ± 12.1% in the fracture group, 16.0 ± 10.3% in the non-fracture group in the Korean model (p = 0.029). All models had statistically significant differences for the prediction of osteoporotic vertebral fracture.
Conclusions
The 10-year probability of osteoporotic vertebral fracture had underestimation of the risk considering treatment eligibility based on the National Osteoporosis Foundation guidelines. BMD that accurately reflects the contribution of each result to fracture risk should be preferred for the prediction of fracture using FRAX, when lumbar spine and hip BMD measurements are both performed for clinical purposes in Korean.
doi:10.4184/asj.2012.6.1.22
PMCID: PMC3302911  PMID: 22439084
Osteoporosis; Vertebral fracture; Fracture risk; Fracture risk assessment tool
11.  Managing osteoporosis in ulcerative colitis: Something new? 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(39):14087-14098.
The authors revise the latest evidence in the literature regarding managing of osteoporosis in ulcerative colitis (UC), paying particular attention to the latest tendency of the research concerning the management of bone damage in the patient affected by UC. It is wise to assess vitamin D status in ulcerative colitis patients to recognize who is predisposed to low levels of vitamin D, whose deficiency has to be treated with oral or parenteral vitamin D supplementation. An adequate dietary calcium intake or supplementation and physical activity, if possible, should be guaranteed. Osteoporotic risk factors, such as smoking and excessive alcohol intake, must be avoided. Steroid has to be prescribed at the lowest possible dosage and for the shortest possible time. Moreover, conditions favoring falling have to been minimized, like carpets, low illumination, sedatives assumption, vitamin D deficiency. It is advisable to assess the fracture risk in all UC patient by the fracture assessment risk tool (FRAX® tool), that calculates the ten years risk of fracture for the population aged from 40 to 90 years in many countries of the world. A high risk value could indicate the necessity of treatment, whereas a low risk value suggests a follow-up only. An intermediate risk supports the decision to prescribe bone mineral density (BMD) assessment and a subsequent patient revaluation for treatment. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry bone densitometry can be used not only for BMD measurement, but also to collect data about bone quality by the means of trabecular bone score and hip structural analysis assessment. These two indices could represent a method of interesting perspectives in evaluating bone status in patients affected by diseases like UC, which may present an impairment of bone quality as well as of bone quantity. In literature there is no strong evidence for instituting pharmacological therapy of bone impairment in UC patients for clinical indications other than those that are also applied to the patients with osteoporosis. Therefore, a reasonable advice is to consider pharmacological treatment for osteoporosis in those UC patients who already present fragility fractures, which bring a high risk of subsequent fractures. Therapy has also to be considered in patients with a high risk of fracture even if it did not yet happen, and particularly when they had long periods of corticosteroid therapy or cumulative high dosages. In patients without fragility fractures or steroid treatment, a medical decision about treatment could be guided by the FRAX tool to determine the intervention threshold. Among drugs for osteoporosis treatment, the bisphosphonates are the most studied ones, with the best and longest evidence of efficacy and safety. Despite this, several questions are still open, such as the duration of treatment, the necessity to discontinue it, the indication of therapy in young patients, particularly in those without previous fractures. Further, it has to be mentioned that a long-term bisphosphonates use in primary osteoporosis has been associated with an increased incidence of dramatic side-effects, even if uncommon, like osteonecrosis of the jaw and atypical sub-trochanteric and diaphyseal femoral fractures. UC is a long-lasting disease and the majority of patients is relatively young. In this scenario primary prevention of fragility fracture is the best cost-effective strategy. Vitamin D supplementation, adequate calcium intake, suitable physical activity (when possible), removing of risk factors for osteoporosis like smoking, and avoiding falling are the best medical acts.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i39.14087
PMCID: PMC4202340  PMID: 25339798
Ulcerative colitis; Osteoporosis; Fragility fracture; Bone mineral density; Trabecular bone score; Hip structural analysis; Fracture assessment risk tool; Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry
12.  Balloon Kyphoplasty 
Executive Summary
Objective
To review the evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of balloon kyphoplasty for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures (VCFs).
Clinical Need
Vertebral compression fractures are one of the most common types of osteoporotic fractures. They can lead to chronic pain and spinal deformity. They are caused when the vertebral body (the thick block of bone at the front of each vertebra) is too weak to support the loads of activities of daily living. Spinal deformity due to a collapsed vertebral body can substantially affect the quality of life of elderly people, who are especially at risk for osteoporotic fractures due to decreasing bone mass with age. A population-based study across 12 European centres recently found that VCFs have a negative impact on health-related quality of life. Complications associated with VCFs are pulmonary dysfunction, eating disorders, loss of independence, and mental status change due to pain and the use of medications. Osteoporotic VCFs also are associated with a higher rate of death.
VCFs affect an estimated 25% of women over age 50 years and 40% of women over age 80 years. Only about 30% of these fractures are diagnosed in clinical practice. A Canadian multicentre osteoporosis study reported on the prevalence of vertebral deformity in Canada in people over 50 years of age. To define the limit of normality, they plotted a normal distribution, including mean and standard deviations (SDs) derived from a reference population without any deformity. They reported a prevalence rate of 23.5% in women and a rate of 21.5% in men, using 3 SDs from the mean as the limit of normality. When they used 4 SDs, the prevalence was 9.3% and 7.3%, respectively. They also found the prevalence of vertebral deformity increased with age. For people older than 80 years of age, the prevalence for women and men was 45% and 36%, respectively, using 3 SDs as the limit of normality.
About 85% of VCFs are due to primary osteoporosis. Secondary osteoporosis and neoplasms account for the remaining 15%. A VCF is operationally defined as a reduction in vertebral body height of at least 20% from the initial measurement. It is considered mild if the reduction in height is between 20% and 25%; moderate, if it is between 25% and 40%; and severs, if it is more than 40%. The most frequently fractured locations are the third-lower part of the thorax and the superior lumbar levels. The cervical vertebrae and the upper third of the thorax are rarely involved.
Traditionally, bed rest, medication, and bracing are used to treat painful VCFs. However, anti-inflammatory and narcotic medications are often poorly tolerated by the elderly and may harm the gastrointestinal tract. Bed rest and inactivity may accelerate bone loss, and bracing may restrict diaphragmatic movement. Furthermore, medical treatment does not treat the fracture in a way that ameliorates the pain and spinal deformity.
Over the past decade, the injection of bone cement through the skin into a fractured vertebral body has been used to treat VCFs. The goal of cement injection is to reduce pain by stabilizing the fracture. The secondary indication of these procedures is management of painful vertebral fractures caused by benign or malignant neoplasms (e.g., hemangioma, multiple myeloma, and metastatic cancer).
The Technology
Balloon kyphoplasty is a modified vertebroplasty technique. It is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to relieve pain, restore vertebral height, and correct kyphosis. During this procedure, an inflatable bone tamp is inserted into the collapsed vertebral body. Once inflated, the balloon elevates the end plates and thereby restores the height of the vertebral body. The balloon is deflated and removed, and the space is filled with bone cement. Creating a space in the vertebral body enables the application of more viscous cement and at a much lower pressure than is needed for vertebroplasty. This may result in less cement leakage and fewer complications. Balloons typically are inserted bilaterally, into each fractured vertebral body. Kyphoplasty usually is done under general anesthesia in about 1.5 hours. Patients typically are observed for only a few hours after the surgery, but some may require an overnight hospital stay.
Health Canada has licensed KyphX Xpander Inflatable Bone Tamp (Kyphon Inc., Sunnyvale, CA), for kyphoplasty in patients with VCFs. KyphX is the only commercially available device for percutaneous kyphoplasty. The KyphX kit uses a series of bone filler device tubes. Each bone filler device must be loaded manually with cement. The cement is injected into the cavity by pressing an inner stylet.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the KyphX Inflatable Bone Tamp for marketing in July 1998. CE (Conformité European) marketing was obtained in February 2000 for the reduction of fracture and/or creation of a void in cancellous bone.
Review Strategy
The aim of this literature review was to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of balloon kyphoplasty in the treatment of painful VCFs.
INAHTA, Cochrane CCTR (formerly Cochrane Controlled Trials Register), and DSR were searched for health technology assessment reports. In addition, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations were searched from January 1, 2000 to September 21, 2004. The search was limited to English-language articles and human studies.
The positive end points selected for this assessment were as follows:
Reduction in pain scores
Reduction in vertebral height loss
Reduction in kyphotic (Cobb) angle
Improvement in quality of life scores
The search did not yield any health technology assessments on balloon kyphoplasty. The search yielded 152 citations, including those for review articles. No randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on balloon kyphoplasty were identified. All of the published studies were either prospective cohort studies or retrospective studies with no controls. Eleven studies (all case series) met the inclusion criteria. There was also a comparative study published in German that had been translated into English.
Summary of Findings
The results of the 1 comparative study (level 3a evidence) that was included in this review showed that, compared with conservative medical care, balloon kyphoplasty significantly improved patient outcomes.
Patients who had balloon kyphoplasty reported a significant reduction in pain that was maintained throughout follow-up (6 months), whereas pain scores did not change in the control group. Patients in the balloon kyphoplasty group did not need pain medication after 3 days. In the control group, about one-half of the patients needed more pain medication in the first 4 weeks after the procedure. After 6 weeks, 82% of the patients in the control group were still taking pain medication regularly.
Adjacent fractures were more frequent in the control group than in the balloon kyphoplasty group.
The case series reported on several important clinical outcomes.
Pain: Four studies on osteoporosis patients and 1 study on patients with multiple myeloma/primary cancers used the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) to measure pain before and after balloon kyphoplasty. All of these studies reported that patients had significantly less pain after the procedure. This was maintained during follow-up. Two other studies on patients with osteoporosis also used the VAS to measure pain and found a significant improvement in pain scores; however, they did not provide follow-up data.
Vertebral body height: All 5 studies that assessed vertebral body height in patients with osteoporosis reported a significant improvement in vertebral body height after balloon kyphoplasty. One study had 1-year follow-up data for 26 patients. Vertebral body height was significantly better at 6 months and 1 year for both the anterior and midline measurements.
Two studies reported that vertebral body height was restored significantly after balloon kyphoplasty for patients with multiple myeloma or metastatic disease. In another study, the researchers reported complete height restoration in 9% of patients, a mean 56% height restoration in 60% of patients, and no appreciable height restoration in 31% of the patients who received balloon kyphoplasty.
Kyphosis correction: Four studies that assessed Cobb angle before and after balloon kyphoplasty in patients with osteoporosis found a significant reduction in degree of kyphosis after the procedure. In these studies, the differences between preoperative and postoperative Cobb angles were 3.4°, 7°, 8.8°, and 9.9°.
Only 1 study investigated kyphosis correction in patients with multiple myeloma or metastatic disease. The authors reported a significant improvement (5.2°) in local kyphosis.
Quality of life: Four studies used the Short Form 36 (SF-36) Health Survey Questionnaire to measure the quality of life in patients with osteoporosis after they had balloon kyphoplasty. A significant improvement in most of the domains of the SF-36 (bodily pain, social functioning, vitality, physical functioning, mental health, and role functioning) was observed in 2 studies. One study found that general health declined, although not significantly, and another found that role emotional declined.
Both studies that used the Oswestry Disability Index found that patients had a better quality of life after balloon kyphoplasty. In one study, this improvement was statistically significant. In another study, researchers found that quality of life after kyphoplasty improved significantly, as measured with the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire. Yet another study used a quality of life questionnaire and found that 62% of the patients that had balloon kyphoplasty had returned to normal activities, whereas 2 patients had reduced mobility.
To measure quality of life in patients with multiple myeloma or metastatic disease, one group of researchers used the SF-36 and found significantly better scores on bodily pain, physical functioning, vitality, and social functioning after kyphoplasty. However, the scores for general health, mental health, role physical, and role emotional had not improved. A study that used the Oswestry Disability Index reported that patients’ scores were better postoperatively and at 3 months follow-up.
These were the main findings on complications in patients with osteoporosis:
The bone cement leaked in 37 (6%) of 620 treated fractures.
There were no reports of neurological deficits.
There were no reports of pulmonary embolism due to cement leakage.
There were 6 cases of cardiovascular events in 362 patients:
3 (0.8%) patients had myocardial infarction.
3 (0.8%) patients had cardiac arrhythmias.
There was 1 (0.27%) case of pulmonary embolism due to deep venous thrombosis.
There were 20 (8.4%) cases of new fractures in 238 patients.
For patients with multiple myeloma or metastatic disease, these were the main findings:
The bone cement leaked in 12 (9.6%) of 125 procedures.
There were no reports of neurological deficits.
Economic Analysis
Balloon kyphoplasty requires anesthesia. Standard vertebroplasty requires sedation and an analgesic. Based on these considerations, the professional fees (Cdn) for each procedure is shown in Table 1.
Professional Fees for Standard Vertebroplasty and Balloon Kyphoplasty
Balloon kyphoplasty has a sizable device cost add-on of $3,578 (the device cost per case) that standard vertebroplasty does not have. Therefore, the up-front cost (i.e., physician’s fees and device costs) is $187 for standard vertebroplasty and $3,812 for balloon kyphoplasty. (All costs are in Canadian currency.)
There are also “downstream costs” of the procedures, based on the different adverse outcomes associated with each. This includes the risk of developing new fractures (21% for vertebroplasty vs. 8.4% for balloon kyphoplasty), neurological complications (3.9% for vertebroplasty vs. 0% for balloon kyphoplasty), pulmonary embolism (0.1% for vertebroplasty vs. 0% for balloon kyphoplasty), and cement leakage (26.5% for vertebroplasty vs. 6.0% for balloon kyphoplasty). Accounting for these risks, and the base costs to treat each of these complications, the expected downstream costs are estimated at less than $500 per case. Therefore, the expected total direct medical cost per patient is about $700 for standard vertebroplasty and $4,300 for balloon kyphoplasty.
Kyphon, the manufacturer of the inflatable bone tamps has stated that the predicted Canadian incidence of osteoporosis in 2005 is about 29,000. The predicted incidence of cancer-related vertebral fractures in 2005 is 6,731. Based on Ontario having about 38% of the Canadian population, the incidence in the province is likely to be about 11,000 for osteoporosis and 2,500 for cancer-related vertebral fractures. This means there could be as many as 13,500 procedures per year in Ontario; however, this is highly unlikely because most of the cancer-related fractures likely would be treated with medication. Given a $3,600 incremental direct medical cost associated with balloon kyphoplasty, the budget impact of adopting this technology could be as high as $48.6 million per year; however, based on data from the Provider Services Branch, about 120 standard vertebroplasties are done in Ontario annually. Given these current utilization patterns, the budget impact is likely to be in the range of $430,000 per year. This is because of the sizable device cost add-on of $3,578 (per case) for balloon kyphoplasty that standard vertebroplasty does not have.
Policy Considerations
Other treatments for osteoporotic VCFs are medical management and open surgery. In cases without neurological involvement, the medical treatment of osteoporotic VCFs comprises bed rest, orthotic management, and pain medication. However, these treatments are not free of side effects. Bed rest over time can result in more bone and muscle loss, and can speed the deterioration of the underlying condition. Medication can lead to altered mood or mental status. Surgery in these patients has been limited because of its inherent risks and invasiveness, and the poor quality of osteoporotic bones. However, it may be indicated in patients with neurological deficits.
Neither of these vertebral augmentation procedures eliminates the need for aggressive treatment of osteoporosis. Osteoporotic VCFs are often under-diagnosed and under-treated. A survey of physicians in Ontario (1) who treated elderly patients living in long-term care homes found that although these physicians were aware of the rates of osteoporosis in these patients, 45% did not routinely assess them for osteoporosis, and 26% did not routinely treat them for osteoporosis.
Management of the underlying condition that weakens the vertebral bodies should be part of the treatment plan. All patients with osteoporosis should be in a medical therapy program to treat the underlying condition, and the referring health care provider should monitor the clinical progress of the patient.
The main complication associated with vertebroplasty and balloon kyphoplasty is cement leakage (extravertebral or vascular). This may result in more patient morbidity, longer hospitalizations, the need for open surgery, and the use of pain medications, all of which have related costs. Extravertebral cement leakage can cause neurological complications, like spinal cord compression, nerve root compression, and radiculopathy. In some cases, surgery is required to remove the cement and release the nerve. The rate of cement leakage is much lower after balloon kyphoplasty than after vertebroplasty. Furthermore, the neurological complications seen with vertebroplasty have not seen in the studies of balloon kyphoplasty. Rarely, cement leakage into the venous system will cause a pulmonary embolism. Finally, compared with vertebroplasty, the rate of new fractures is lower after balloon kyphoplasty.
Diffusion – International, National, Provincial
In Canada, balloon kyphoplasty has not yet been funded in any of the provinces. The first balloon kyphoplasty performed in Canada was in July 2004 in Ontario.
In the United States, the technology is considered by some states as medically reasonable and necessary for the treatment of painful vertebral body compression fractures.
Conclusion
There is level 4 evidence that balloon kyphoplasty to treat pain associated with VCFs due to osteoporosis is as effective as vertebroplasty at relieving pain. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that it restores the height of the affected vertebra. It also results in lower fracture rates in other vertebrae compared with vertebroplasty, and in fewer neurological complications due to cement leakage compared with vertebroplasty. Balloon kyphoplasty is a reasonable alternative to vertebroplasty, although it must be reiterated that this conclusion is based on evidence from level 4 studies.
Balloon kyphoplasty should be restricted to facilities that have sufficient volumes to develop and maintain the expertise required to maximize good quality outcomes. Therefore, consideration should be given to limiting the number of facilities in the province that can do balloon kyphoplasty.
PMCID: PMC3387743  PMID: 23074451
13.  A National Fragility Fractures Register 
In Italy, osteoporosis is a disease potentially affecting five million people, 80% of whom are post-menopausal women. The natural history of this disease culminates, dramatically, in fragility fractures. The incidence of fragility fractures is now reaching epidemic proportions and, indeed, can no longer be underestimated. In Italy, epidemiological data can be derived only from hospital discharge record (HDR)-based statistics supplied by the Ministry of Health. Since these records contain data relating only to patients discharged from hospitals and institutes providing inpatient care, they provide a figure much lower than the estimated 280,000+ new fractures every year. Despite the availability of these instruments, statistics on hospital admissions may be deemed reliable only in relation to the number of hip fractures, which in 2007 led to over 90,000 hospitalisations. Fragility fractures of other skeletal districts, on the other hand, are often treated non-invasively in the ER and therefore “slip through” the HDR net, leading to an absence of relative data, both as regards numbers and diagnoses. Data collected using the HDR system, which records information on the principal diagnosis (the reason treatment was needed and diagnostic investigations performed) and on secondary diagnoses (coexisting conditions at the time of hospital admission), constitute a resource for studying, assessing and planning admissions. This information, coded using the International Classification of Diseases 9 (ICD 9), is transmitted to regional authorities and then, by them, to the Ministry of Health. The ICD 9 classification is based on two main criteria: one is aetiological (the cause of the fracture) and the other anatomical (the site of the fracture); the latter is the one used most. In the case of fragility fractures, the presence of osteoporosis can be signalled only as a secondary diagnosis, thereby minimising its role in their pathogenesis. From this perspective, the limits of the classification system influence the definition of the real extent of fractures linked to bone fragility, therefore resulting in underestimation of the phenomenon. This separation of the fracture event from the diagnosis of osteoporosis means that the patient does not receive adequate treatment for the underlying disease.
In an attempt to resolve these problems, Italy’s present health minister, Ferruccio Fazio, on the occasion of the World Osteoporosis Day (October 20, 2009), unveiled a project to set up, with the collaboration of the Italian regions, a national fragility fracture register (NFFR), the only one in the world. Registers of this kind are instruments for the systematic collection, nationally, of the data needed to analyse the efficiency of processes and methods involved in health service provision to citizens. The NFFR will collect: demographic data, “process” outcomes (days of hospitalisation, treatments, timing of surgery, complications, types of discharge, etc.) and “final” outcomes (mortality, residual pain, functional recovery, residual disability, etc.). The data will be drawn from the HDRs of ordinary inpatient departments, from ER HDRs, from analyses of local health authority databases, and possibly from subsequent outcome surveys of quality of life and residual disability. There are plans to create a national data collection centre, to be run and coordinated by the Health Ministry, into which will be entered data from the regional registries. In this context, the aim of the NFFR is to establish the quality of interventions at regional and national level, to compare different local settings and identify areas where there is room for improvement in health service delivery, and to define reference standards of care, ranging from optimal to minimum acceptable standards. The NFFR will make it possible to establish more clearly the real extent of the problem and of its social and economic impact, allowing conditions of skeletal fragility to be reported, and thus adequately assessed and treated. The assigning of each individual patient with an alphanumerical code will be useful in the event of further interventions or re-fractures and for the creation of a risk card, a single unified card for collecting a patient’s history, that will be a further useful instrument for defining an individual’s bone fragility status. These further data could usefully complete the data collected in the NFFR, thereby improving the approach to and management of the multifaceted problem of fragile bones. It is necessary to promote a multidisciplinary approach to the patient, as well as the creation of “fragility fracture units”, an organisational model based on a pathway ensuring constant synergy between the different specialties involved in the care of the fracture patient. The NFFR will allow monitoring of the fragility fracture phenomenon so as to rationalise resources and monitor the efficacy of health policy interventions.
PMCID: PMC3213778
14.  Prediction of fracture risk in men: A cohort study 
FRAX is a tool that identifies individuals with high fracture risk who will benefit from pharmacological treatment of osteoporosis. However, a majority of fractures among elderly occur in people without osteoporosis and most occur after a fall. Our aim was to accurately identify men with a high future risk of fracture, independent of cause. In the population-based Uppsala Longitudinal Study of Adult Men (ULSAM) and using survival analysis we studied different models' prognostic values (R2) for any fracture and hip fracture within 10 years from age 50 (n = 2322), 60 (n = 1852), 71 (n = 1221), and 82 (n = 526) years. During the total follow-up period from age 50 years, 897 fractures occurred in 585 individuals. Of these, 281 were hip fractures occurring in 189 individuals. The rates of any fracture were 5.7/1000 person-years at risk from age 50 years and 25.9/1000 person-years at risk from age 82 years. Corresponding hip fractures rates were 2.9 and 11.7/1000 person-years at risk. The FRAX model included all variables in FRAX except bone mineral density. The full model combining FRAX variables, comorbidity, medications, and behavioral factors explained 25% to 45% of all fractures and 80% to 92% of hip fractures, depending on age. The corresponding prognostic values of the FRAX model were 7% to 17% for all fractures and 41% to 60% for hip fractures. Net reclassification improvement (NRI) comparing the full model with the FRAX model ranged between 40% and 53% for any fracture and between 40% and 87% for hip fracture. Within the highest quintile of predicted fracture risk with the full model, one-third of the men will have a fracture within 10 years after age 71 years and two-thirds after age 82 years. We conclude that the addition of comorbidity, medication, and behavioral factors to the clinical components of FRAX can substantially improve the ability to identify men at high risk of fracture, especially hip fracture. © 2012 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
doi:10.1002/jbmr.1498
PMCID: PMC3415621  PMID: 22189702
COMORBIDITY; LIFESTYLE; MEDICINE; FRACTURE; PREDICTION
15.  Fracture risk assessment in postmenopausal women referred to an Italian center for osteoporosis: a single day experience in Messina 
Summary
Osteoporosis is a major cause of fragility fractures and these are responsible of large social burden; nevertheless, osteoporosis often remains an underdiagnosed disease.
FRAX is a new and simple validate fracture risk assessment tool helping physicians to select patients at high risk of future fragility fractures.
To promote early diagnosis of osteoporosis, we evaluated fracture risk by FRAX and performed phalangeal quantitative ultrasound (QUS) measurements in a population of postmenopausal women referring to our center during the World Osteoporosis Day on 20th October 2011.
Eighty post-menopausal women (age 60.8±8.6) were screened and the risk of major osteoporotic and hip fractures over ten years was calculated by considering multiple clinical risk factors (CRFs). The median risk of major osteoporotic fracture (%) was 4.9 (3.5–8.6) in women younger than 55 years, 7.3 (5.4–11) in women aged between 55 and 65 years and 17.5 (11–27) in women older than 65 years; the median risk of hip fracture (%) was 0.6 (0.3–1.3), 1.5 (0.9–2.5) and 7.2 (3.1–14) respectively. QUS measurements, were lower in the older women and when multiple CRFs coexisted, and were found to correlate with fracture risk, especially with hip fracture risk (p<0.05).
Within one month from the screening, 75% (44/59) of the women over 55 years came back and received a diagnosis of osteoporosis/osteopenia by dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA); a positive association between DXA and QUS measurements was observed (p<0.0001).
Adequate treatment of these subjects could reduce fracture rates, improve the quality of life, and reduce the social costs of osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3917582  PMID: 24554930
osteoporosis; fragility fractures; prevention; FRAX; quantitative ultrasound
16.  Fracture or Vertebral Deformation? 
Vertebral fractures are the most common osteoporotic fractures, both in Europe and in the USA, affecting 25% of women over 50 years of age. Although often mild and asymptomatic, vertebral fractures have a considerable impact both on the quality of life and on the survival of those affected. In order to allow more precise identification of vertebral fractures, various methods have been proposed over the past 20 years, designed to furnish a more or less quantitative assessment of the spine. These methods can be divided into two groups: visual semi-quantitative (SQ) and morphometric quantitative. The SQ method, being based on the reading of radiographs has the advantage, compared to quantitative morphometry, of allowing differential diagnosis between vertebral deformations and vertebral fractures, and between the various causes, benign or malignant, of vertebral fractures, allowing, in uncertain cases, more complex examinations –CT or MRI – to be undertaken. Since vertebral fractures always manifest themselves as deformations of the vertebral body, but not all vertebral deformations are fractures, an “algorithm-based qualitative assessment” (ABQ) was recently developed in order to identify true vertebral fractures. The ABQ is based on two fundamental points: According to the ABQ, a vertebra is fractured only if there is central vertebral endplate depression.The ABQ introduces the concept of short vertebral height (SVH) to indicate vertebra that show reduced height, but no central depression. Cases of SVH are not fractures, but normal variants, growth-related abnormalities (Scheuermann’s disease), or arthrosic abnormalities.
Thus, all mid-thoracic cuneiform deformities without evident depression of the central endplate are considered SVHs by the ABQ method, but often as fractures by the SQ and morphometric methods. In a recent article, it was shown that SVH is not correlated with low BMD, whereas ABQ-defined deformities are closely associated with BMD in the osteoporotic range.
In clinical practice the assessment of vertebral fractures is commonly based on the radiologist’s reading of radiographs, the first essential step in the differential diagnosis of various causes of vertebral deformity.
Given the possibility, using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), of obtaining images with good spatial resolution, it was recently suggested that the visual examination of these images might be used for the identification of vertebral fractures, a method called “vertebral fracture assessment (VFA)”. One advantage of this diagnostic approach is that it can be performed using low doses of radiation and be associated with the measurement of bone mineral density, thereby allowing, contemporaneously, both a qualitative and a quantitative evaluation of the spine, useful for the correct identification of vertebral fractures. According to the findings of recent studies, VFA shows a good level of agreement (96.3%) with semi-quantitative assessment of radiographs in the classification of vertebrae as normal or deformed. Furthermore, the VFA method has been shown to have excellent negative predictive value (98.0%) in distinguishing subjects with normal vertebrae from those with definite or possible vertebral deformities.
In 2005, the ISCD proposed the following diagnostic pathway for the identification of osteoporotic vertebral fractures in the presence of fracture risk factors: using the VFA method, perform an initial visual assessment of the spine on DEXA images;classify patients as normal if all the vertebrae are clearly visualised and found to be normal;classify patients as fractured in the presence of a moderate or severe fracture, identified using Genant’s SQ method;perform a radiographic examination if, on VFA, not all the vertebrae are visualised, orif one or more mild vertebral deformities are identified;on the radiograph, distinguish fractures from mild, non-fracture deformities;determine the type and severity of the fracture according to the SQ method;use morphometry to confirm the presence and severity of the fracture;over time, monitor the patient at risk of fragility fracture, using VFA as well as DEXA densitometry.
In conclusion, by associating VFA with definition – not only quantitative, but also qualitative – of fractures, it will be possible to identify a greater number of true mild, asymptomatic fractures, which constitute the evidence on which to base a drug treatment geared at preventing the occurrence of new fractures, which would be more severe and disabling. To achieve this, there is nevertheless a need for close collaboration between the clinician who requests the examination and the radiologist whose task it is to provide a report, both qualitative and morphometric, of the image of the spine.
PMCID: PMC3213848
17.  The clinical diagnosis of osteoporosis: a position statement from the National Bone Health Alliance Working Group 
Osteoporosis International  2014;25(5):1439-1443.
Summary
Osteoporosis causes an elevated fracture risk. We propose the continued use of T-scores as one means for diagnosis but recommend that, alternatively, hip fracture; osteopenia-associated vertebral, proximal humerus, pelvis, or some wrist fractures; or FRAX scores with ≥3 % (hip) or 20 % (major) 10-year fracture risk also confer an osteoporosis diagnosis.
Introduction
Osteoporosis is a common disorder of reduced bone strength that predisposes to an increased risk for fractures in older individuals. In the USA, the standard criterion for the diagnosis of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and older men is a T-score of ≤ −2.5 at the lumbar spine, femur neck, or total hip by bone mineral density testing.
Methods
Under the direction of the National Bone Health Alliance, 17 clinicians and clinical scientists were appointed to a working group charged to determine the appropriate expansion of the criteria by which osteoporosis can be diagnosed.
Results
The group recommends that postmenopausal women and men aged 50 years should be diagnosed with osteoporosis if they have a demonstrable elevated risk for future fractures. This includes having a T-score of less than or equal to −2.5 at the spine or hip as one method for diagnosis but also permits a diagnosis for individuals in this population who have experienced a hip fracture with or without bone mineral density (BMD) testing and for those who have osteopenia by BMD who sustain a vertebral, proximal humeral, pelvic, or, in some cases, distal forearm fracture. Finally, the term osteoporosis should be used to diagnose individuals with an elevated fracture risk based on the World Health Organization Fracture Risk Algorithm, FRAX.
Conclusions
As new ICD-10 codes become available, it is our hope that this new understanding of what osteoporosis represents will allow for an appropriate diagnosis when older individuals are recognized as being at an elevated risk for fracture.
doi:10.1007/s00198-014-2655-z
PMCID: PMC3988515  PMID: 24577348
Clinical diagnosis; Criteria; Osteoporosis; Position statement
18.  Efficacy of Clodronate in Local and Systemic Osteoporosis 
Clodronate belongs to the first generation of the large biphosphonate family of drugs (the non-nitrogen ones), and from the earliest studies, conducted in the ’70s, it distinguished itself from etidronate, a powerful antiresorptive drug that acts at osteoclastic level but, however, causes an osteomalacic bone mineralisation deficit clearly evident on histomorphometry. Common experience and several clinical and biological studies have shown that clodronate exerts an antalgic effect not only in fracture patients but also in those affected by osteoarthrosis or athritis. The drug, therefore, can usefully be included in the treatment regimen of rheumatic patients, also on account of its symptomatic effects. Clodronate in small doses (2 mg) also appears to exert protective effects on cartilage (an intra-articular formulation is indeed to be introduced), while at doses 10–100 times higher it undoubtedly has anti-inflammatory effects and, more specifically, antimacrophage and anticytokine effects (IL-1, IL-6, TNF-alpha, PGE). These effects are amplified by the incorporation of clodronate into monolayer liposomes. The drug may therefore be considered a coadjuvant in the treatment of arthritis originating from strong osteoclast activation induced by increased levels of cytokines and by an increased RANKL/OPG ratio. It is clear that clodronate can act both upstream, on cytokines, and downstream, on the osteoclast effector function.
At local level, the anti-inflammatory and antimacrophage effect is likely at the basis of the capacity of the drug to stablilise a prosthesis, as observed at knee and at hip level.
Its impact on algodystrophic pathology, with clear reduction of bone marrow oedema as from the third month of parenteral treatment, is well known. This may also be true, albeit in the absence of adequate literature, of treatment of osteonecrosis in the first two stages, especially if it is parcellar, as seen at subchondral level in osteoarthrosis.
At systemic level, there are essentially three published studies demonstrating the anti-fracture effect of the drug: two by McCloskey, published in 2004 and 2007 in J Bone Miner Res, and our study on the prevention of fractures in corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis.
They are all controlled studies, the first two double-blind, and ours an open, controlled study.
McCloskey’s studies used 800 mg of clodronate/day per os for three years, whereas we used 100 mg of clodronate /week i.m. for four weeks.
In McCloskey’s 2004 study, 593 patients (women and men with osteoporosis or vertebral fracture), were randomised to 500 mg calcium without vitamin D or to calcium plus clodronate. Vertebral fractures were the primary endpoint.
As regards the antifracture effect, there emerged a 46% reduction in vertebral fractures in the clodronate versus the control group. The reduction was 40% in patients with post-menopausal osteoporosis and a remarkable 65% in patients with secondary osteoporosis. There was also a 73% reduction in the incidence of vertebral fractures in subjects who did not previously have fractures and a reduction of 41% in those who already had fractures. This study recorded a 30% reduction in non-vertebral fractures, which was not statistically significant. In the 2007 study, McCloskey investigated 5600 women over the age of 75 years who, on invitation to take part in the study, had consented. The patients were randomised in a double-blind manner to receive either clodronate 800 mg/day or inert placebo. Clinical and densitometric monitoring lasted three years. The primary endpoint was reduction of fractures of all types.
The sample presented some interesting features, given that no densitometric criteria had been applied in the enrolment stage: only 1 woman in 5 was osteoporotic; furthermore, subjects with other problems were excluded, and this was reflected in the fact that mortality at the end of the three years was half the expected level, and fracture episodes, too, were 50% lower than the expected level. This clearly had repercussions on the statistical power of this study.
The important finding emerging from this study is that the overall antifracture effect is present both in osteoporotic subjects (−29.5%), and in normal and osteopenic subjects (−22.5%).
As regards corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis there exist several studies that investigate bone mass, but our 2003 study published in Bone is the only one to take vertebral fractures as an endpoint and also absolutely the only one to test, using this endpoint, the 100 mg i.m. formulation.
It was a study on prevention of corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis. Indeed, the subjects (160 patients with arthritis) had started cortiscosteroid therapy within the previous 100 days. They were randomised to receive clodronate + calcium and vitamin D or only calcium and vitamin D. Each year, DXA scans, US measurement of the heel and DXA morphometry were carried out. The results showed maintenance of bone mass in the patients receiving clodronate (which was the objective, given that these were osteopenic or normal patients) while mineral loss was marked in the controls. The US heel measurements were in line with the DXA data.
An around 40% reduction in fractures overall was recorded, while multiple fractures were reduced by 75%.
Finally, in recent years the cost/benefit question has started to be raised, especially after the birth of algorithms like FRAX, which allow the selection of patients at increased ten-year fracture risk, and of pharmaco-economic models that make it possible to calculate FRAX-based intervention thresholds on the basis of drug and monitoring costs, antifracture efficacy, quality of life, and the amount that a community can or wishes to spend. In this regard, a subanalysis of patients from the McCloskey study (3974 patients aged over 65), showed that clodronate is more effective in patients with a higher FRAX-calculated fracture risk. Furthermore, another study, by Kanis, has shown that for a drug costing 100 pounds/year (very similar to the cost of clodronate), the “cost-effective” threshold for intervention is around 7–10%.
PMCID: PMC3213787
19.  Development of a prototype clinical decision support tool for osteoporosis disease management: a qualitative study of focus groups 
Background
Osteoporosis affects over 200 million people worldwide, and represents a significant cost burden. Although guidelines are available for best practice in osteoporosis, evidence indicates that patients are not receiving appropriate diagnostic testing or treatment according to guidelines. The use of clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) may be one solution because they can facilitate knowledge translation by providing high-quality evidence at the point of care. Findings from a systematic review of osteoporosis interventions and consultation with clinical and human factors engineering experts were used to develop a conceptual model of an osteoporosis tool. We conducted a qualitative study of focus groups to better understand physicians' perceptions of CDSSs and to transform the conceptual osteoporosis tool into a functional prototype that can support clinical decision making in osteoporosis disease management at the point of care.
Methods
The conceptual design of the osteoporosis tool was tested in 4 progressive focus groups with family physicians and general internists. An iterative strategy was used to qualitatively explore the experiences of physicians with CDSSs; and to find out what features, functions, and evidence should be included in a working prototype. Focus groups were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide using an iterative process where results of the first focus group informed changes to the questions for subsequent focus groups and to the conceptual tool design. Transcripts were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using grounded theory methodology.
Results
Of the 3 broad categories of themes that were identified, major barriers related to the accuracy and feasibility of extracting bone mineral density test results and medications from the risk assessment questionnaire; using an electronic input device such as a Tablet PC in the waiting room; and the importance of including well-balanced information in the patient education component of the osteoporosis tool. Suggestions for modifying the tool included the addition of a percentile graph showing patients' 10-year risk for osteoporosis or fractures, and ensuring that the tool takes no more than 5 minutes to complete.
Conclusions
Focus group data revealed the facilitators and barriers to using the osteoporosis tool at the point of care so that it can be optimized to aid physicians in their clinical decision making.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-10-40
PMCID: PMC2914714  PMID: 20650007
20.  Predicting risk of osteoporotic fracture in men and women in England and Wales: prospective derivation and validation of QFractureScores 
Objective To develop and validate two new fracture risk algorithms (QFractureScores) for estimating the individual risk of osteoporotic fracture or hip fracture over 10 years.
Design Prospective open cohort study with routinely collected data from 357 general practices to develop the scores and from 178 practices to validate the scores.
Setting General practices in England and Wales.
Participants 1 183 663 women and 1 174 232 men aged 30-85 in the derivation cohort, who contributed 7 898 208 and 8 049 306 person years of observation, respectively. There were 24 350 incident diagnoses of osteoporotic fracture in women and 7934 in men, and 9302 incident diagnoses of hip fracture in women and 5424 in men.
Main outcome measures First (incident) diagnosis of osteoporotic fracture (vertebral, distal radius, or hip) and incident hip fracture recorded in general practice records.
Results Use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), age, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, recorded alcohol use, parental history of osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, tricyclic antidepressants, corticosteroids, history of falls, menopausal symptoms, chronic liver disease, gastrointestinal malabsorption, and other endocrine disorders were significantly and independently associated with risk of osteoporotic fracture in women. Some variables were significantly associated with risk of osteoporotic fracture but not with risk of hip fracture. The predictors for men for osteoporotic and hip fracture were age, BMI, smoking status, recorded alcohol use, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, tricyclic antidepressants, corticosteroids, history of falls, and liver disease. The hip fracture algorithm had the best performance among men and women. It explained 63.94% of the variation in women and 63.19% of the variation in men. The D statistic values for discrimination were highest for hip fracture in women (2.73) and men (2.68) and were over twice the magnitude of the corresponding values for osteoporotic fracture. The ROC statistics for hip fracture were also high: 0.89 in women and 0.86 for men versus 0.79 and 0.69, respectively, for the osteoporotic fracture outcome. The algorithms were well calibrated with predicted risks closely matching observed risks. The QFractureScore for hip fracture also had good performance for discrimination and calibration compared with the FRAX (fracture risk assessment) algorithm.
Conclusions These new algorithms can predict risk of fracture in primary care populations in the UK without laboratory measurements and are therefore suitable for use in both clinical settings and for self assessment (www.qfracture.org). QFractureScores could be used to identify patients at high risk of fracture who might benefit from interventions to reduce their risk.
doi:10.1136/bmj.b4229
PMCID: PMC2779855  PMID: 19926696
21.  P10 - A Case of Suspected Osteogenesis Imperfecta Diagnosed in a Delicatessen Shop: When the Physician’s Eye is Vigilant Even Outside the Outpatient Care Unit 
Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a rare group of inherited bone diseases characterised by a connective tissue defect leading to skeletal fragility. From an early age, individuals affected by OI may present fractures after minor traumas or even fractures with no apparent cause. OI is often misdiagnosed. The clinical presentation can be variable, ranging from mild with normal stature, absent or moderate skeletal deformities and normal life expectancy (OI type I) to lethal/severe forms manifesting in the perinatal period/childhood (OI types II and III). The most striking clinical manifestations of OI type I are fractures, blue sclerae, dentinogenesis imperfecta with dental abnormalities, skeletal deformities and low bone mass density (BMD). In particular, blue sclerae are found in about 50% of all cases of OI. During a shopping trip to a delicatessen, a physician noted certain aspects of the facies and physique of the pork butcher, a 50-year-old male, namely the presence of blue sclerae, a triangular face and a posture tending to kyphosis, as seen in skeletal diseases such as OI. Prompted by clinical curiosity, questions were asked aimed at uncovering a medical history of previous fractures in prepubertal/adolescent age in the proband and his first-degree relatives; questions were also asked about his/their lifestyles and eating habits. The proband’s personal and family history (father and brother) were both found to be positive for the presence of multiple fractures, even after minimal trauma, since prepubertal age, particularly involving the clavicles. These data further supported the suspicion that this may be a case of abnormal collagen-based familial osteoporosis. However, since the subject was a male, it was necessary to conduct a differential diagnosis of secondary forms of osteoporosis, which account for approximately 50% of cases of male osteoporosis. Therefore, the following clinical tests were required: bone turnover, 25OHD, hormonal tests, liver-kidney function, screening for celiac disease, lumbar and femoral DXA scans and morphometric examination of the spine. Biochemical investigations showed only the presence of hypo-vitaminosis D, while the DXA scans showed a condition of frank osteoporosis with high risk of fragility fractures, both at cortical and trabecular sites. Since type I OI was still strongly suspected, we decided to perform mutational analysis of collagen type I genes, COLIA1 and COLIA2. This investigation is still ongoing. While awaiting the outcome of the molecular test, neridronate medication with 25 mg i.m. vials, 1 vial per month, and supplementation with cholecalciferol, 600,000 IU/year were suggested. The daily intake of calcium from food reached and still reaches 1000 mg/day.
The case here described suggests that careful observation of an individual’s clinical characteristics, even outside the clinic setting, may help to identify patients at high risk of skeletal fragility fractures, as for example in those with rare conditions such as OI. Even though a physician’s “curiosity”, in particular when he/she is outside the outpatient care setting, could be regarded as an invasion of another’s privacy, the presence of ever-present clinical “curiosity” can have positive practical advantages for a patient who, as in this case, may often be unaware of his/her own health status, particularly in the presence of “insidious” clinical forms, and particularly given that there now exist appropriate therapies able to reduce significantly the relative risk of fragility fractures.
PMCID: PMC3213852
22.  Osteogenic Protein-1 for Long Bone Nonunion 
Executive Summary
Objective
To assess the efficacy of osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1) for long bone nonunion.
Clinical Need
Although most fractures heal within a normal period, about 5% to 10% do not heal and are classified as delayed or nonunion fractures. Nonunion and segmental bone loss after fracture, reconstructive surgery, or lesion excision can present complex orthopedic problems, and the multiple surgical procedures often needed are associated with patient morbidity and reduced quality of life.
Many factors contribute to the pathogenesis of a delayed union or nonunion fractures, including deficiencies of calcium, vitamin D, or vitamin C, and side effects of medications such as anticoagulants, steroids, some anti-inflammatory drugs, and radiation. It has been shown that smoking interferes with bone repair in several ways.
Incidence of Nonunion and Delayed Union Cases
An estimated 5% to 10% of fractures do not heal properly and go on to delayed union or nonunion. If this overall estimate of incidence were applied to the Ontario population1, the estimated number of delayed union or nonunion in the province would be between 3,863 and 7,725.
Treatment of Nonunion Cases
The treatment of nonunion cases is a challenge to orthopedic surgeons. However, the basic principle behind treatment is to provide both mechanical and biological support to the nonunion site.
Fracture stabilization and immobilization is frequently used with the other treatment modalities that provide biological support to the fractured bone. Biological support includes materials that could be served as a source of osteogenic cells (osteogenesis), a stimulator of mesenchymal cells (osteoinduction), or a scaffold-like structure (osteoconduction).
The capacity to heal a fracture is a latent potential of the stromal stem cells, which synthesize new bone. This process has been defined as osteogenesis. Activation of the stem cells to initiate osteogenic response and to differentiate into bone-forming osteoblasts is called osteoinduction. These 2 properties accelerate the rate of fracture healing or reactivate the ineffective healing process. Osteoconduction occurs when passive structures facilitate the migration of osteoprogenitor cells, the perivascular tissue, and capillaries into these structures.
Bone Grafts and Bone Graft Substitutes
Bone graft and bone graft substitutes have one or more of the following components:
Undifferentiated stem cells
Growth factors
Structural lattice
Undifferentiated stem cells are unspecialized, multipotential cells that can differentiate into a variety of specialized cells. They can also replicate themselves. The role of stem cells is to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are residing. A single stem cell can generate all cell types of that tissue. Bone marrow is a source of at least 2 kinds of stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells that form all types of blood cells, and bone marrow stromal stem cells that have osteogenic properties and can generate bone, cartilage, and fibrous tissue.
Bone marrow has been used to stimulate bone formation in bone defects and cases of nonunion fractures. Bone marrow can be aspirated from the iliac crest and injected percutaneously with fluoroscopic guidance into the site of the nonunion fracture. The effectiveness of this technique depends on the number and activity of stem cells in the aspirated bone marrow. It may be possible to increase the proliferation and speed differentiation of stem cells by exposing them to growth factor or by combining them with collagen.
Many growth factors and cytokines induced in response to injury are believed to have a considerable role in the process of repair. Of the many bone growth factors studied, bone morphogenetics (BMPs) have generated the greatest attention because of their osteoinductive potential. The BMPs that have been most widely studied for their ability to induce bone regeneration in humans include BMP-2 and BMP-7 (osteogenic protein). Human osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1) has been cloned and produced with recombinant technology and is free from the risk of infection or allergic reaction.
The structural lattice is osteoconductive; it supports the ingrowth of developing capillaries and perivascular tissues. Three distinct groups of structural lattice have been identified: collagen, calcium sulphate, and calcium phosphate. These materials can be used to replace a lost segment of bone.
Grafts Used for Nonunion
Autologous bone graft is generally considered the gold standard and the best material for grafting because it contains several elements that are critical in promoting bone formation, including osteoprogenitor cells, the matrix, and bone morphogenetic proteins. The osteoconductive property of cancellous autograft is related to the porosity of bone. The highly porous, scaffold-like structure of the graft allows host osteoblasts and host osteoprogenitor cells to migrate easily into the area of the defect and to begin regeneration of bone. Sources of cancellous bone are the iliac crest, the distal femur, the greater trochanter, and the proximal tibia. However, harvesting the autologous bone graft is associated with postoperative pain at the donor site, potential injury to the surrounding arteries, nerves, and tissues, and the risk of infection. Thus the development of synthetic materials with osteoconductive and osteoinductive properties that can eliminate the need for harvesting has become a major goal of orthopedic research.
Allograft is the graft of tissue between individuals who are of the same species but are of a disparate genotype. Allograft has osteoconductive and limited osteoinductive properties. Demineralized bone matrix (DBM) is human cortical and cancellous allograft. These products are prepared by acid extraction of allograft bone, resulting in the loss of most of the mineralized component while collagen and noncollagenous proteins, including growth factors, are retained. Figures 1 to 5 demonstrate the osteogenic, osteoinduction, and osteoconduction properties of autologous bone graft, allograft, OP-1, bone graft substitutes, and bone marrow.
Autologous Bone Graft
Osteogenic Protein-1
Allograft bone and Demineralized Bone Matrix
Bone Graft Substitutes
Autologous Bone Marrow Graft
New Technology Being Reviewed: Osteogenic Protein-1
Health Canada issued a Class IV licence for OP-1 in June 2004 (licence number 36320). The manufacturer of OP-1 is Stryker Biotech (Hapkinton, MA).
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a humanitarian device exemption for the application of the OP-1 implant as an “alternative to autograft in recalcitrant long bone nonunions where use of autograft is unfeasible and alternative treatments have failed.” Regulatory agencies in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand have permitted the use of this implant in specific cases, such as in tibial nonunions, or in more general cases, such as in long bone nonunions.
According to the manufacturer, OP-1 is indicated for the treatment of long bone nonunions. It is contraindicated in the patient has a hypersensitivity to the active substance or collagen, and it should not be applied at the site of a resected tumour that is at or near the defect or fracture. Finally, it should not be used in patients who are skeletally immature (< 18 years of age), or if there is no radiological evidence of closure of epiphysis.
Review Strategy
Objective
To summarize the safety profile and effectiveness of OP-1 in the treatment of cases of long bone nonunion and bone defects
To compare the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of OP-1 in the treatment of long bone nonunions and bone defects with the alternative technologies, particularly the gold standard autologous bone graft.
Literature Search
International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessments (INAHTA), the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the CCTR (formerly Cochrane Controlled Trials Register) were searched for health technology assessments. MEDLINE, EMBASE, Medline In Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations were searched from January 1, 1996 to January 27, 2004 for studies on OP-1. The search was limited to English-language articles and human studies. The search yielded 47 citations. Three studies met inclusion criteria (2 RCTs and 1 Ontario-based study presented at an international conference.
Summary of Findings
Friedlaender et al. conducted a prospective, randomized, partially blinded clinical trial on the treatment tibial nonunions with OP-1. Tibial nonunions were chosen for this study because of their high frequency, challenging treatment requirements, and substantial morbidity. All of the nonunions were at least 9 months old and had shown no progress toward healing over the previous 3 months. The patients were randomized to receive either treatment with autologous bone grafting or treatment with OP-1 in a type-1 collagen carrier. Both groups received reduction and fixation with an intramedullary rod. Table 1 summarizes the clinical outcomes of this study.
Outcomes in a Randomized Clinical Trial on Tibial Nonunions: Osteogenic Protein-1 versus Autologous Bone Grafting
Clinical success was defined as full weight-bearing, loss of severe pain at the fracture site on weight-bearing, and no further surgical treatment to enhance fracture repair.
The results of this study demonstrated that recombinant OP-1 is associated with substantial clinical and radiographic success for the treatment of tibial nonunions when used with intramedullary rod fixation. No adverse event related to sensitization was reported. Five per cent of the patients in the OP-1 group had circulating antibodies against type 1 collagen. Only 10% of the patients had a low level of anti-OP-1 antibodies, and all effects were transient. Furthermore, the success rate with the OP-1 implant was comparable with those achieved with autograft at 9 and 24 months follow-up. Eighty-two per cent of patients were successful at 24 months follow-up in both groups.
Statistically significant increased blood loss in the group treated with the autograft was observed (P = .049). Patients treated with autograft had longer operation and hospitalization times. All patients in the autograft group had pain at the donor site after surgery, and more than 80% judged their postoperative pain as moderate or severe. At their 6-month visit, 20% of the patients in the autograft group had persistent pain, mild or moderate in nature, at the donor site. This number fell to 13% at 12 months.
All patients in each of the groups had at least 1 adverse event that wasn’t serious, such as fever, nausea and vomiting, leg edema, discomfort, and bruising at the operative site. The incidence of these events was similar in both groups. Serious adverse events were observed in 44% of both groups, none of which were considered related to the OP-1 implant or autograft.
On the basis of this data, the FDA issued a humanitarian device exemption for the application of OP-1 implant as an alternative to autograft in recalcitrant long bone nonunions when the use of autograft is unfeasible and alternative treatments have failed.
Study on Fibular Defects
Geesink et al. investigated the osteogenic activity of OP-1 by assessing its value in bridging fibular defects made at the time of tibial osteotomy for varus or valgus deformity of the knee. This study had 2 phases and included 12 patients in each phase. Each phase included 12 patients (6 in each group). Patients in the first phase received either DBM or were left untreated. Patients in the second phase received either OP-1 on collagen type-1 or collagen type-1 alone.
Radiological and Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) evaluation showed that in patients in whom the defect was left untreated, no formation of bone occurred. At 12 months follow-up, new bone formation with bridging occurred in 4 of the 6 patients in DMB group, and 5 of the 6 patients in OP-1 group. One patient in OP-1 group did not show any evidence of new bone formation at any point during the study.
Ontario Pilot Study
A prospective pilot study was conducted in Ontario, Canada to investigate the safety and efficacy of OP-1 for the treatment of recalcitrant long bone nonunions. The study looked at 15 patients with complex, recalcitrant, long bone nonunions whose previous treatment had failed. The investigators concluded that this bone graft substitute appears to be safe and effective in providing sufficient biological stimulation in difficult to treat nonunions. Results of a more complete study on 70 patients are ready for publication. According to the principal investigator, OP-1 was 90% effective in inducing bone formation and bone healing in this sample.
Alternative Technologies
The Medical Advisory Secretariat conducted a literature search from January 1, 2000 to February 28, 2005 to identify studies on nonunions/bone defects that had been treated with alternative technologies. A review of these studies showed that, in addition to the gold standard autologous bone marrow grafting, bone allografts, demineralized bone matrices, bone graft substitutes, and autologous bone marrow have been used for treatment of nonunions and bone defects. These studies were categorized according to the osteoinductive, osteoconductive, and osteogenesis properties of the technologies studied.
A review of these studies showed that bone allografts have been used mostly in various reconstruction procedures to restore the defect after excavating a bone lesion. Two studies investigated the effectiveness of DBM in healing fracture nonunions. Calcium phosphate and calcium sulphate have been used mostly for repair of bone defects.
Several investigators have looked at the use of autologous bone marrow for treatment of long bone nonunions. The results of these studies show that method of percutaneous bone marrow grafting is highly effective in the treatment of long bone nonunions. In a total of 301 fractures across all studies, 268 (89%) healed with a mean healing time of 2.5 to 8 months. This healing time as derived from these case series is less than the timing of the primary end point in Friedlaender’s study (9 months). Table 2 summarizes the results of these studies. Table 2 summarizes the results of these studies.
Studies that used Percutaneous Bone Marrow Grafting for Treatment of Nonunions
Economic Analysis
Based on annual estimated incidence of long-bone nonunion of 3,863 - 7,725, the annual hospitalization costs associated with this condition is between $21.2 and $42.3 million based on a unit cost of $5,477 per hospital separation. When utilized, the device, a single vial of OP-1, is approximately $5,000 and if adopted universally in Ontario, the total device costs would be in the range of $19.3 - $38.6 million annually. The physician fee for harvest, insertion of bone, or OP-1 is $193 and is $193 for autologous bone marrow transplantation. Total annual physician costs are expected to be in the range of from $0.7 million to $1.3 million per year. Expenditures associated with long-bone nonunion are unlikely to increase since incidence of long-bone nonunion is unlikely to change in the future. However, the rate of uptake of OP-1 could have a significant impact on costs if the uptake were large.
The use of OP-1 and autologous bone marrow transplantation may offset pain medication costs compared with those associated with autologous bone harvest given that the former procedures do not involve the pain associated with the bone harvest site. However, given that this pain is normally not permanent, the overall offset is likely to be small. There are likely to be smaller OHIP costs associated with OP-1 than bone-harvest procedures given that only 1, rather than 2, incisions are needed when comparing the former with the latter procedure. This offset could amount to between $0.3 million to $0.7 million annually.
No data on the cost-effectiveness of OP-1 is available.
PMCID: PMC3382627  PMID: 23074475
23.  A mechanical model for predicting the probability of osteoporotic hip fractures based in DXA measurements and finite element simulation 
Background
Osteoporotic hip fractures represent major cause of disability, loss of quality of life and even mortality among the elderly population. Decisions on drug therapy are based on the assessment of risk factors for fracture, from BMD measurements. The combination of biomechanical models with clinical studies could better estimate bone strength and supporting the specialists in their decision.
Methods
A model to assess the probability of fracture, based on the Damage and Fracture Mechanics has been developed, evaluating the mechanical magnitudes involved in the fracture process from clinical BMD measurements. The model is intended for simulating the degenerative process in the skeleton, with the consequent lost of bone mass and hence the decrease of its mechanical resistance which enables the fracture due to different traumatisms. Clinical studies were chosen, both in non-treatment conditions and receiving drug therapy, and fitted to specific patients according their actual BMD measures. The predictive model is applied in a FE simulation of the proximal femur. The fracture zone would be determined according loading scenario (sideway fall, impact, accidental loads, etc.), using the mechanical properties of bone obtained from the evolutionary model corresponding to the considered time.
Results
BMD evolution in untreated patients and in those under different treatments was analyzed. Evolutionary curves of fracture probability were obtained from the evolution of mechanical damage. The evolutionary curve of the untreated group of patients presented a marked increase of the fracture probability, while the curves of patients under drug treatment showed variable decreased risks, depending on the therapy type.
Conclusion
The FE model allowed to obtain detailed maps of damage and fracture probability, identifying high-risk local zones at femoral neck and intertrochanteric and subtrochanteric areas, which are the typical locations of osteoporotic hip fractures.
The developed model is suitable for being used in individualized cases. The model might better identify at-risk individuals in early stages of osteoporosis and might be helpful for treatment decisions.
doi:10.1186/1475-925X-11-84
PMCID: PMC3549900  PMID: 23151049
Osteoporosis; Osteoporotic fracture; Predictive model; Finite elements; Fracture risk; Fracture probability
24.  Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
This report features the evidence-based analysis on caregiver- and patient-directed interventions for dementia and is broken down into 4 sections:
Introduction
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Economic Analysis of Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
To identify interventions that may be effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia living in the community.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Dementia is a progressive and largely irreversible syndrome that is characterized by a loss of cognitive function severe enough to impact social or occupational functioning. The components of cognitive function affected include memory and learning, attention, concentration and orientation, problem-solving, calculation, language, and geographic orientation. Dementia was identified as one of the key predictors in a senior’s transition from independent community living to admission to a long-term care (LTC) home, in that approximately 90% of individuals diagnosed with dementia will be institutionalized before death. In addition, cognitive decline linked to dementia is one of the most commonly cited reasons for institutionalization.
Prevalence estimates of dementia in the Ontario population have largely been extrapolated from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging conducted in 1991. Based on these estimates, it is projected that there will be approximately 165,000 dementia cases in Ontario in the year 2008, and by 2010 the number of cases will increase by nearly 17% over 2005 levels. By 2020 the number of cases is expected to increase by nearly 55%, due to a rise in the number of people in the age categories with the highest prevalence (85+). With the increase in the aging population, dementia will continue to have a significant economic impact on the Canadian health care system. In 1991, the total costs associated with dementia in Canada were $3.9 billion (Cdn) with $2.18 billion coming from LTC.
Caregivers play a crucial role in the management of individuals with dementia because of the high level of dependency and morbidity associated with the condition. It has been documented that a greater demand is faced by dementia caregivers compared with caregivers of persons with other chronic diseases. The increased burden of caregiving contributes to a host of chronic health problems seen among many informal caregivers of persons with dementia. Much of this burden results from managing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), which have been established as a predictor of institutionalization for elderly patients with dementia.
It is recognized that for some patients with dementia, an LTC facility can provide the most appropriate care; however, many patients move into LTC unnecessarily. For individuals with dementia to remain in the community longer, caregivers require many types of formal and informal support services to alleviate the stress of caregiving. These include both respite care and psychosocial interventions. Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions such as psychoeducational interventions, counseling, supportive therapy, and behavioural interventions.
Assuming that 50% of persons with dementia live in the community, a conservative estimate of the number of informal caregivers in Ontario is 82,500. Accounting for the fact that 29% of people with dementia live alone, this leaves a remaining estimate of 58,575 Ontarians providing care for a person with dementia with whom they reside.
Description of Interventions
The 2 main categories of caregiver-directed interventions examined in this review are respite care and psychosocial interventions. Respite care is defined as a break or relief for the caregiver. In most cases, respite is provided in the home, through day programs, or at institutions (usually 30 days or less). Depending on a caregiver’s needs, respite services will vary in delivery and duration. Respite care is carried out by a variety of individuals, including paid staff, volunteers, family, or friends.
Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions and have been classified in various ways in the literature. This review will examine educational, behavioural, dementia-specific, supportive, and coping interventions. The analysis focuses on behavioural interventions, that is, those designed to help the caregiver manage BPSD. As described earlier, BPSD are one of the most challenging aspects of caring for a senior with dementia, causing an increase in caregiver burden. The analysis also examines multicomponent interventions, which include at least 2 of the above-mentioned interventions.
Methods of Evidence-Based Analysis
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effectiveness of interventions for caregivers of dementia patients.
Questions
Section 2.1
Are respite care services effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Do respite care services impact on rates of institutionalization of these seniors?
Section 2.2
Which psychosocial interventions are effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Which interventions reduce the risk for institutionalization of seniors with dementia?
Outcomes of Interest
any quantitative measure of caregiver psychological health, including caregiver burden, depression, quality of life, well-being, strain, mastery (taking control of one’s situation), reactivity to behaviour problems, etc.;
rate of institutionalization; and
cost-effectiveness.
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology and GRADE Working Group. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Conclusions in Table 1 are drawn from Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the report.
Summary of Conclusions on Caregiver-Directed Interventions
There is limited evidence from RCTs that respite care is effective in improving outcomes for those caring for seniors with dementia.
There is considerable qualitative evidence of the perceived benefits of respite care.
Respite care is known as one of the key formal support services for alleviating caregiver burden in those caring for dementia patients.
Respite care services need to be tailored to individual caregiver needs as there are vast differences among caregivers and patients with dementia (severity, type of dementia, amount of informal/formal support available, housing situation, etc.)
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that individual behavioural interventions (≥ 6 sessions), directed towards the caregiver (or combined with the patient) are effective in improving psychological health in dementia caregivers.
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that multicomponent interventions improve caregiver psychosocial health and may affect rates of institutionalization of dementia patients.
RCT indicates randomized controlled trial.
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
The section on patient-directed interventions for dementia is broken down into 4 subsections with the following questions:
3.1 Physical Exercise for Seniors with Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of basic activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability, in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.2 Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions to Improve Cognitive Functioning in Seniors With Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.3 Physical Exercise for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
3.4 Cognitive Interventions for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, deterioration in the performance of basic ADLs or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs),1 or incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Secondary Prevention2
Exercise
Physical deterioration is linked to dementia. This is thought to be due to reduced muscle mass leading to decreased activity levels and muscle atrophy, increasing the potential for unsafe mobility while performing basic ADLs such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability.
Improved physical conditioning for seniors with dementia may extend their independent mobility and maintain performance of ADL.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Cognitive impairments, including memory problems, are a defining feature of dementia. These impairments can lead to anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from activities. The impact of these cognitive problems on daily activities increases pressure on caregivers.
Cognitive interventions aim to improve these impairments in people with mild to moderate dementia.
Primary Prevention3
Exercise
Various vascular risk factors have been found to contribute to the development of dementia (e.g., hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, overweight).
Physical exercise is important in promoting overall and vascular health. However, it is unclear whether physical exercise can decrease the risk of cognitive decline/dementia.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Having more years of education (i.e., a higher cognitive reserve) is associated with a lower prevalence of dementia in crossectional population-based studies and a lower incidence of dementia in cohorts followed longitudinally. However, it is unclear whether cognitive training can increase cognitive reserve or decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs or reduce the incidence of dementia.
Description of Interventions
Physical exercise and nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions (e.g., cognitive training) for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia are assessed in this review.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and RCTs that examined the effectiveness, safety and cost effectiveness of exercise and cognitive interventions for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia.
Questions
Section 3.1: What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of ADLs in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.2: What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.3: Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
Section 3.4: Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs, or reduce the incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Table 2 summarizes the conclusions from Sections 3.1 through 3.4.
Summary of Conclusions on Patient-Directed Interventions*
Previous systematic review indicated that “cognitive training” is not effective in patients with dementia.
A recent RCT suggests that CST (up to 7 weeks) is effective for improving cognitive function and quality of life in patients with dementia.
Regular leisure time physical activity in midlife is associated with a reduced risk of dementia in later life (mean follow-up 21 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline (mean follow-up 2 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of dementia (mean follow-up 6–7 years).
Evidence that cognitive training for specific functions (memory, reasoning, and speed of processing) produces improvements in these specific domains.
Limited inconclusive evidence that cognitive training can offset deterioration in the performance of self-reported IADL scores and performance assessments.
1° indicates primary; 2°, secondary; CST, cognitive stimulation therapy; IADL, instrumental activities of daily living; RCT, randomized controlled trial.
Benefit/Risk Analysis
As per the GRADE Working Group, the overall recommendations consider 4 main factors:
the trade-offs, taking into account the estimated size of the effect for the main outcome, the confidence limits around those estimates, and the relative value placed on the outcome;
the quality of the evidence;
translation of the evidence into practice in a specific setting, taking into consideration important factors that could be expected to modify the size of the expected effects such as proximity to a hospital or availability of necessary expertise; and
uncertainty about the baseline risk for the population of interest.
The GRADE Working Group also recommends that incremental costs of health care alternatives should be considered explicitly alongside the expected health benefits and harms. Recommendations rely on judgments about the value of the incremental health benefits in relation to the incremental costs. The last column in Table 3 reflects the overall trade-off between benefits and harms (adverse events) and incorporates any risk/uncertainty (cost-effectiveness).
Overall Summary Statement of the Benefit and Risk for Patient-Directed Interventions*
Economic Analysis
Budget Impact Analysis of Effective Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-directed behavioural techniques and patient-directed exercise programs were found to be effective when assessing mild to moderate dementia outcomes in seniors living in the community. Therefore, an annual budget impact was calculated based on eligible seniors in the community with mild and moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who were willing to participate in interventional home sessions. Table 4 describes the annual budget impact for these interventions.
Annual Budget Impact (2008 Canadian Dollars)
Assumed 7% prevalence of dementia aged 65+ in Ontario.
Assumed 8 weekly sessions plus 4 monthly phone calls.
Assumed 12 weekly sessions plus biweekly sessions thereafter (total of 20).
Assumed 2 sessions per week for first 5 weeks. Assumed 90% of seniors in the community with dementia have mild to moderate disease. Assumed 4.5% of seniors 65+ are in long-term care, and the remainder are in the community. Assumed a rate of participation of 60% for both patients and caregivers and of 41% for patient-directed exercise. Assumed 100% compliance since intervention administered at the home. Cost for trained staff from Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care data source. Assumed cost of personal support worker to be equivalent to in-home support. Cost for recreation therapist from Alberta government Website.
Note: This budget impact analysis was calculated for the first year after introducing the interventions from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care perspective using prevalence data only. Prevalence estimates are for seniors in the community with mild to moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who are willing to participate in an interventional session administered at the home setting. Incidence and mortality rates were not factored in. Current expenditures in the province are unknown and therefore were not included in the analysis. Numbers may change based on population trends, rate of intervention uptake, trends in current programs in place in the province, and assumptions on costs. The number of patients was based on patients likely to access these interventions in Ontario based on assumptions stated below from the literature. An expert panel confirmed resource consumption.
PMCID: PMC3377513  PMID: 23074509
25.  Fracture risk assessment after BMD examination: whose job is it, anyway? 
Osteoporosis International  2014;25(5):1445-1453.
Summary
Fracture risk assessments on bone mineral density reports guide family physicians’ treatment decisions but are subject to inaccuracy. Qualitative analysis of interviews with 22 family physicians illustrates their pervasive questioning of reported assessment accuracy and independent assumption of responsibility for assessment. Assumption of responsibility is common despite duplicating specialists’ work.
Introduction
Fracture risk is the basis for recommendations of treatment for osteoporosis, but assessments on bone mineral density (BMD) reports are subject to known inaccuracies. This creates a complex situation for referring physicians, who must rely on assessments to inform treatment decisions. This study was designed to broadly understand physicians’ current experiences with and preferences for BMD reporting; the present analysis focuses on their interpretation and use of the fracture risk assessments on reports, specifically
Methods
A qualitative, thematic analysis of one-on-one interviews with 22 family physicians in Ontario, Canada was performed.
Results
The first major theme identified in interview data reflects questioning by family physicians of reported fracture risk assessments’ accuracy. Several major subthemes related to this included questioning of: 1) accuracy in raw bone mineral density measures (e.g., g/cm2); 2) accurate inclusion of modifying risk factors; and 3) the fracture risk assessment methodology employed. A second major theme identified was family physicians’ independent assumption of responsibility for risk assessment and its interpretation. Many participants reported that they computed risk assessments in their practice to ensure accuracy, even when provided with assessments on reports.
Conclusions
Results indicate family physicians question accuracy of risk assessments on BMD reports and often assume responsibility both for revising and relating assessments to treatment recommendations. This assumption of responsibility is common despite the fact that it may duplicate the efforts of reading physicians. Better capture of risk information on BMD referrals, quality control standards for images and standardization of risk reporting may help attenuate some inefficiency.
doi:10.1007/s00198-014-2661-1
PMCID: PMC3988517  PMID: 24610580
Bone mineral density; Fracture risk assessment; Osteoporosis; Qualitative research; Radiology; Reporting

Results 1-25 (1383151)