An ultrasound scan of the heel may be able to predict whether women are at an increased risk of bone fracture due to osteoporosis, according to new research.
In the study of 6,174 women aged 70 to 85-years-old, which will be published in the July issue of the journal Radiology, the ultrasound scan identified one group at an apparently lower risk and another group deemed to be at a higher risk of fracture.
Over the following 32 months, 6.1 per cent of the higher-risk group were found to have developed fractures compared with only 1.8 per cent of women in the lower-risk group.
The study's lead author Idris Guessous, senior research fellow at Switzerland's Lausanne University Hospital, said: "Patients with osteoporosis are not optimally-treated because of a lack of general awareness.
"A simple prediction rule might be a useful clinical tool for healthcare providers to optimise osteoporosis screening."
Earlier this month, US researchers suggested in a study published on the Journal of the National Cancer Institute website that the osteoporosis drug raloxifene may offer protection against certain invasive breast cancers.