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1.  Validation of the GALS musculoskeletal screening exam for use in primary care: a pilot study 
Background
As the proportion of the Canadian population ≥65 grows, so too does the prevalence of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. Approximately 20% of visits to family physicians occur as a result of MSK complaints. The GALS (Gait, Arms, Legs, and Spine) screening examination was developed to assist in the detection of MSK abnormalities. Although MSK exams are primarily performed by rheumatologists or other MSK specialists, expanding their use in primary health care may improve the detection of MSK conditions allowing for earlier treatment. The primary goal of this study was to evaluate the use of the GALS locomotor screen in primary care by comparing the results of assessments of family physicians with those of rheumatologists. The secondary goal was to examine the incidence of MSK disorders and assess the frequency with which new diagnoses not previously documented in patients' charts were identified.
Methods
Patients ≥65 years old recruited from an academic family health centre were examined by a rheumatologist and a family physician who recorded the appearance of each participant's gait and the appearance and movement of the arms, legs and spine by deeming them normal or abnormal. GALS scores were compared between physicians with the proportion of observed (Pobs), positive (Ppos) and negative (Pneg) agreement being the primary outcomes. Kappa statistics were also calculated. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the number of "new" diagnoses by comparing rheumatologists' findings with each patient's family practice chart.
Results
A total of 99 patients consented to participate (92 with previously diagnosed MSK conditions). Results showed reasonable agreement between family physicians and rheumatologists; Pobs = 0.698, Ppos = 0.614 and Pneg = 0.752. The coefficient of agreement (estimated Kappa) was 0.3675 for the composite GALS score. For individual components of the GALS exam, the highest agreement between family physicians and rheumatologists was in the assessment of gait and arm movement.
Conclusion
Previously reported increases in undiagnosed signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal conditions have highlighted the need for a simple yet sensitive screening exam for the identification of musculoskeletal abnormalities. Results of this study suggest that family physicians can efficiently use the GALS examination in the assessment of populations with a high proportion of musculoskeletal issues.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-9-115
PMCID: PMC2533317  PMID: 18752678
2.  Frailty index of deficit accumulation and falls: data from the Global Longitudinal Study of Osteoporosis in Women (GLOW) Hamilton cohort 
Background
To investigate the association between frailty index (FI) of deficit accumulation and risk of falls, fractures, death and overnight hospitalizations in women aged 55 years and older.
Methods
The data were from the Global Longitudinal Study of Osteoporosis in Women (GLOW) Hamilton Cohort. In this 3-year longitudinal, observational cohort study, women (N = 3,985) aged ≥55 years were enrolled between May 2008 and March 2009 in Hamilton, Canada. A FI including co-morbidities, activities of daily living, symptoms and signs, and healthcare utilization was constructed using 34 health deficits at baseline. Relationship between the FI and falls, fractures, death and overnight hospitalizations was examined.
Results
The FI was significantly associated with age, with a mean rate of deficit accumulation across baseline age of 0.004 or 0.021 (on a log scale) per year. During the third year of follow-up, 1,068 (31.89%) women reported at least one fall. Each increment of 0.01 on the FI was associated with a significantly increased risk of falls during the third year of follow-up (odds ratio [OR]: 1.02, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02-1.03). The area under the curve (AUC) of the predictive model was 0.69 (95% CI: 0.67-0.71). Results of subgroup and sensitivity analyses indicated the relationship between the FI and risk of falls was robust, while bootstrap analysis judged its internal validation. The FI was significantly related to fractures (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.02, 95% CI: 1.01-1.03), death (OR: 1.05, 95% CI: 1.03-1.06) during the 3-year follow-up period and overnight hospitalizations (incidence rate ratio [IRR]: 1.02, 95% CI: 1.02-1.03) for an increase of 0.01 on the FI during the third year of follow-up. Measured by per standard deviation (SD) increment of the FI, the ORs were 1.21 and 1.40 for falls and death respectively, while the HR was 1.17 for fractures and the IRR was 1.18 for overnight hospitalizations respectively.
Conclusion
The FI of deficit accumulation increased with chronological age significantly. The FI was associated with and predicted increased risk of falls, fractures, death and overnight hospitalizations significantly.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-185
PMCID: PMC4046442  PMID: 24885323
Frailty; Falls; Fracture; Death; Hospitalization
3.  Changes in trabecular bone microarchitecture in postmenopausal women with and without type 2 diabetes: a two year longitudinal study 
Background
The risk of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture is greater for adults with type 2 diabetes despite higher than normal bone mineral density (BMD). In addition to BMD, trabecular bone microarchitecture contributes to bone strength, but is not assessed using conventional BMD measurement by dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The aim of this study was to compare two year changes in trabecular bone microarchitecture in women with and without type 2 diabetes.
Methods
We used a 1 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner to acquire axial images (resolution 195 μm × 195 μm × 1000 μm) of the distal radius. We report the change in the number and size of trabecular bone holes, bone volume fraction (BVTV), trabecular thickness (Tb.Th), number (Tb.N) and separation (Tb.Sp), endosteal area, nodal and branch density for each group. Lumbar spine and proximal femur BMD were measured with DXA (Hologic, Discovery QDR4500A) at baseline and follow-up. Using a multivariable linear regression model, we evaluated whether the percent change in the trabecular bone microarchitecture variables differed between women with and without type 2 diabetes.
Results
Of the 54 participants at baseline with valid MRI image sets, 37 participants (baseline mean [SD] age, 70.8 [4.4] years) returned for follow-up assessment after 25.4 [1.9] months. Lumbar spine BMD was greater for women with diabetes compared to without diabetes at both baseline and follow-up. After adjustment for ethnicity, women with diabetes had a higher percent increase in number of trabecular bone holes compared to controls (10[1] % versus −7 [2]%, p=0.010), however results were no longer significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons (p=0.090). There were no differences in the change in other trabecular bone microarchitecture variables between groups.
Conclusion
There were no differences in percent change in trabecular bone microarchitecture variables over two years in women with type 2 diabetes compared to women without diabetes. This study provides feasibility data, which will inform future trials assessing change in trabecular bone microarchitecture in women with type 2 diabetes. Larger studies using higher resolution imaging modalities that can assess change in trabecular and cortical bone compartments in women with type 2 diabetes are needed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-114
PMCID: PMC3618189  PMID: 23530948
4.  A randomized controlled trial of vitamin D dosing strategies after acute hip fracture: No advantage of loading doses over daily supplementation 
Background
There remains uncertainty regarding the appropriate therapeutic management of hip fracture patients. The primary aim of our study was to examine whether large loading doses in addition to daily vitamin D offered any advantage over a simple daily low-dose vitamin D regimen for increasing vitamin D levels.
Methods
In this randomized controlled study, patients over age 50 with an acute fragility hip fracture were enrolled from two hospital sites in Ontario, Canada. Participants were randomized to one of three loading dose groups: placebo; 50,000 IU vitamin D2; or 100,000 IU D2. Following a placebo/loading dose, all patients received a daily tablet of 1,000 IU vitamin D3 for 90 days. Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25-OHD) was measured at baseline, discharge from acute care (approximately 4-weeks), and 3-months.
Results
Sixty-five patients were enrolled in the study (44% male). An immediate rise in 25-OHD occurred in the 100,000 group, however there were no significant differences in 25-OHD between the placebo, 50,000 and 100,000 loading dose groups after 4-weeks (69.3, 84.5, 75.6 nmol/L, p = 0.15) and 3-months (86.7, 84.2, 73.3 nmol/L, p = 0.09), respectively. At the end of the study, approximately 75% of the placebo and 50,000 groups had reached the target therapeutic range (75 nmol/L), and 44% of the 100,000 group.
Conclusions
In correcting vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency in elderly patients with hip fracture, our findings suggest that starting with a lower daily dose of Vitamin D3 achieved similar results as providing an additional large loading dose of Vitamin D2. At the end of the study, all three groups were equally effective in attaining improvement in 25-OHD levels. Given that a daily dose of 1,000 IU vitamin D3 (with or without a loading dose) resulted in at least 25% of patients having suboptimal vitamin D status, patients with acute hip fracture may benefit from a higher daily dose of vitamin D.
Trial registration
Clinical Trials # NCT00424619
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-135
PMCID: PMC3134427  PMID: 21689448
5.  Adverse events, bone mineral density and discontinuation associated with generic alendronate among postmenopausal women previously tolerant of brand alendronate: a retrospective cohort study 
Background
A rise in gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events (AEs) and a decline in bone mineral density (BMD) was observed in patients previously tolerant to brand alendronate shortly after generic versions were introduced in July 2005 to the Canadian market. The objective of our study was to quantify changes in AE rates and BMD scores, as well as associated alendronate discontinuation among patients before and after switch from brand to generic alendronate.
Methods
A chart review of postmenopausal women 50 years of age and older between 2003 and 2007 was conducted in two specialized tertiary care referral centers. Patients on alendronate both before and after July 2005 were included. The change in the number of AEs, changes in BMD and associated alendronate discontinuation was compared before and after the switch from brand to generic alendronate.
Results
301 women with an average age of 67.6 years (standard deviation (SD) = 9.5) had a total of 47 AEs between July 2003 and December 2007 that resulted in discontinuation of the medication. There was a significant increase in the rate of AEs per patient-months-at-risk from 0.0001 before to 0.0044 after October 2005 (p < 0.001). The most common AEs were GI in nature (stomach pain, GI upset, nausea, and reflux). In addition, 23 patients discontinued alendronate due to BMD reduction after January 2006. In these patients, BMD scores were significantly reduced from their prior BMD measures (change of -0.0534, p < 0.001 for spine BMD and change of -0.0338, p = 0.01 for femur BMD). Among patients who discontinued due to BMD reduction, BMD was stable in the period prior to January 2006 (change of -0.0066, p = 0.5 for spine BMD and change of 0.0011, p = 0.9 for femur BMD); however, testing for reduction after January 2006 in BMD measures (one-sided T-test) revealed there was a significant reduction in BMD scores for both anatomic sites (change of -0.0321, p = .005 for spine, change of -0.0205, p = 0.05 for femur).
Conclusions
Patients who were previously stable on doses of brand alendronate experienced an increase in AEs causing discontinuation after introduction of automatic substitution to generic alendronate. In addition, reductions in BMD were observed in some patients who had stable BMDs before January 2006. Given the substantial increase in AEs, generic alendronate may not be as well tolerated as brand alendronate.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-68
PMCID: PMC2867835  PMID: 20388226
6.  Optimizing care in osteoporosis: The Canadian quality circle project 
Background
While the Osteoporosis Canada 2002 Canadian guidelines provided evidence based strategies in preventing, diagnosing, and managing this condition, publication and distribution of guidelines have not, in and of themselves, been shown to alter physicians clinical approaches. We hypothesize that primary care physicians enrolled in the Quality Circle project would change their patient management of osteoporosis in terms of awareness of osteoporosis risk factors and bone mineral density testing in accordance with the guidelines.
Methods
The project consisted of five Quality Circle phases that included: 1) Training & Baseline Data Collection, 2) First Educational Intervention & First Follow-Up Data Collection 3) First Strategy Implementation Session, 4) Final Educational Intervention & Final Follow-up Data Collection, and 5) Final Strategy Implementation Session. A total of 340 circle members formed 34 quality circles and participated in the study. The generalized estimating equations approach was used to model physician awareness of risk factors for osteoporosis and appropriate utilization of bone mineral density testing pre and post educational intervention (first year of the study). Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated.
Results
After the 1st year of the study, physicians' certainty of their patients' risk factor status increased. Certainty varied from an OR of 1.4 (95% CI: 1.1, 1.8) for prior vertebral fracture status to 6.3 (95% CI: 2.3, 17.9) for prior hip fracture status. Furthermore, bone mineral density testing increased in high risk as compared with low risk patients (OR: 1.4; 95% CI: 1.2, 1.7).
Conclusion
Quality Circle methodology was successful in increasing both physicians' awareness of osteoporosis risk factors and appropriate bone mineral density testing in accordance with the 2002 Canadian guidelines.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-9-130
PMCID: PMC2567974  PMID: 18828906
7.  Longitudinal analysis of vertebral fracture and BMD in a Canadian cohort of adult cystic fibrosis patients 
Background
Vertebral fractures in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) may contribute to an accelerated decline in lung function and can be a contraindication to lung transplantation. In this study, we examined longitudinal change in bone mineral density (BMD) and the prevalence of vertebral fractures in adult CF patients, without lung-transplant, attending a Canadian specialty clinic.
Methods
Retrospective chart review of all patients attending an Adult Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Hamilton Health Sciences in Hamilton, Canada. Forty-nine of 56 adults met inclusion criteria. Chest radiographs were graded by consensus approach using Genant's semi-quantitative method to identify and grade fractured vertebrae. Dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans were also reviewed.
Results
The mean age of the cohort was 25.2 years (SD 9.4), 43% were male. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 19.8 (2.8) for males and 21.7 (5.1) for females. At baseline, the rate of at least one vertebral fracture was 16.3%; rising to 21.3% (prevalent and incident) after a 3-year follow-up. The mean BMD T-or Z-scores at baseline were -0.80 (SD 1.1) at the lumbar spine, -0.57 (SD 0.97) at the proximal femur, and -0.71 (SD 1.1) at the whole body. Over approximately 4-years, the mean percent change in BMD was -1.93% at the proximal femur and -0.73% at the lumbar spine.
Conclusion
Approximately one in five CF patients demonstrated at least one or more vertebral fractures. Moderate declines in BMD were observed. Given the high rate of vertebral fractures noted in this cohort of adult CF patients, and the negative impact they have on compromised lung functioning, regular screening for vertebral fractures should be considered on routine chest radiographs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-9-125
PMCID: PMC2567975  PMID: 18801200
8.  Evaluation of easily measured risk factors in the prediction of osteoporotic fractures 
Background
Fracture represents the single most important clinical event in patients with osteoporosis, yet remains under-predicted. As few premonitory symptoms for fracture exist, it is of critical importance that physicians effectively and efficiently identify individuals at increased fracture risk.
Methods
Of 3426 postmenopausal women in CANDOO, 40, 158, 99, and 64 women developed a new hip, vertebral, wrist or rib fracture, respectively. Seven easily measured risk factors predictive of fracture in research trials were examined in clinical practice including: age (<65, 65–69, 70–74, 75–79, 80+ years), rising from a chair with arms (yes, no), weight (< 57, ≥ 57kg), maternal history of hip facture (yes, no), prior fracture after age 50 (yes, no), hip T-score (>-1, -1 to >-2.5, ≤-2.5), and current smoking status (yes, no). Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted.
Results
The inability to rise from a chair without the use of arms (3.58; 95% CI: 1.17, 10.93) was the most significant risk factor for new hip fracture. Notable risk factors for predicting new vertebral fractures were: low body weight (1.57; 95% CI: 1.04, 2.37), current smoking (1.95; 95% CI: 1.20, 3.18) and age between 75–79 years (1.96; 95% CI: 1.10, 3.51). New wrist fractures were significantly identified by low body weight (1.71, 95% CI: 1.01, 2.90) and prior fracture after 50 years (1.96; 95% CI: 1.19, 3.22). Predictors of new rib fractures include a maternal history of a hip facture (2.89; 95% CI: 1.04, 8.08) and a prior fracture after 50 years (2.16; 95% CI: 1.20, 3.87).
Conclusion
This study has shown that there exists a variety of predictors of future fracture, besides BMD, that can be easily assessed by a physician. The significance of each variable depends on the site of incident fracture. Of greatest interest is that an inability to rise from a chair is perhaps the most readily identifiable significant risk factor for hip fracture and can be easily incorporated into routine clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-47
PMCID: PMC1208898  PMID: 16143046
9.  Osteoporosis in Canadian adult cystic fibrosis patients: A descriptive study 
Background
Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal autosomal recessive genetic disease in the Caucasian population. Osteoporosis is increasingly being recognised as an important complication in people with cystic fibrosis.
Methods
A descriptive study of adult cystic fibrosis patients receiving care at a Canadian tertiary care hospital was conducted to evaluate the prevalence of osteoporosis, the prevalence of non-vertebral fractures, and the change in bone mineral density during the course of a year. Data on bone mineral density were obtained for 40 adult cystic fibrosis patients by reviewing dual x-ray absorptiometry scans taken at baseline (when annual scans became standard clinical practice) and one year prior to baseline. Data on prevalent fractures were obtained by reviewing all available patient charts. Clinical and laboratory data were collected from an existing clinic database.
Results
Over half of the 40 patients had reduced T- and Z-scores at baseline. For the 27 patients who had data available one year prior to baseline, total hip and lumbar spine bone mineral density had decreased by 3.04% and 0.86% after one year while total body bone mineral density had not changed significantly. Four prior non-vertebral fractures were reported in three patients (1,146 patient-years).
Conclusion
This study confirms that osteoporosis is a significant problem in adult cystic fibrosis patients, and constitutes the first published evidence of cystic fibrosis bone disease in Canadians.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-4-13
PMCID: PMC198278  PMID: 12823863
10.  The impact of incident vertebral and non-vertebral fractures on health related quality of life in postmenopausal women 
Background
Little empirical research has examined the multiple consequences of osteoporosis on quality of life.
Methods
Health related quality of life (HRQL) was examined in relationship to incident fractures in 2009 postmenopausal women 50 years and older who were seen in consultation at our tertiary care, university teaching hospital-affiliated office and who were registered in the Canadian Database of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia (CANDOO) patients. Patients were divided into three study groups according to incident fracture status: vertebral fractures, non-vertebral fractures and no fractures. Baseline assessments of anthropometric data, medical history, therapeutic drug use, and prevalent fracture status were obtained from all participants. The disease-targeted mini-Osteoporosis Quality of Life Questionnaire (mini-OQLQ) was used to measure HRQL.
Results
Multiple regression analyses revealed that subjects who had experienced an incident vertebral fracture had lower HRQL difference scores as compared with non-fractured participants in total score (-0.86; 95% confidence intervals (CI): -1.30, -0.43) and the symptoms (-0.76; 95% CI: -1.23, -0.30), physical functioning (-1.12; 95% CI: -1.57, -0.67), emotional functioning (-1.06; 95% CI: -1.44, -0.68), activities of daily living (-1.47; 95% CI: -1.97, -0.96), and leisure (-0.92; 95% CI: -1.37, -0.47) domains of the mini-OQLQ. Patients who experienced an incident non-vertebral fracture had lower HRQL difference scores as compared with non-fractured participants in total score (-0.47; 95% CI: -0.70, -0.25), and the symptoms (-0.25; 95% CI: -0.49, -0.01), physical functioning (-0.39; 95% CI: -0.65, -0.14), emotional functioning (-0.97; 95% CI: -1.20, -0.75) and the activities of daily living (-0.47; 95% CI: -0.73, -0.21) domains.
Conclusion
Quality of life decreased in patients who sustained incident vertebral and non-vertebral fractures.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-3-11
PMCID: PMC107028  PMID: 11967146
11.  Effect of vitamin D on bone mineral density of elderly patients with osteoporosis responding poorly to bisphosphonates 
Background
Bisphosphonates are indicated in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. However, bone mineral density (BMD) continues to decline in up to 15% of bisphosphonate users. While randomized trials have evaluated the efficacy of concurrent bisphosphonates and vitamin D, the incremental benefit of vitamin D remains uncertain.
Methods
Using data from the Canadian Database of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia (CANDOO), we performed a 2-year observational cohort study. At baseline, all patients were prescribed a bisphosphonate and counseled on vitamin D supplementation. After one year, patients were divided into two groups based on their response to bisphosphonate treatment. Non-responders were prescribed vitamin D 1000 IU daily. Responders continued to receive counseling on vitamin D.
Results
Of 449 patients identified, 159 were non-responders to bisphosphonates. 94% of patients were women. The mean age of the entire cohort was 74.6 years (standard deviation = 5.6 years). In the cohort of non-responders, BMD at the lumbar spine increased 2.19% (p < 0.001) the year after vitamin D was prescribed compared to a decrease of 0.55% (p = 0.36) the year before. In the cohort of responders, lumbar spine BMD improved 1.45% (p = 0.014) the first year and 1.11% (p = 0.60) the second year. The difference between the two groups was statistically significant the first year (p < 0.001) but not the second (p = 0.60). Similar results were observed at the femoral neck but were not statistically significant.
Conclusion
In elderly patients with osteoporosis not responding to bisphosphonates, vitamin D 1000 IU daily may improve BMD at the lumbar spine.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-3-6
PMCID: PMC65678  PMID: 11860614

Results 1-11 (11)