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Osteoporosis tests 'advisable for some older men'

8th August 2007

Osteoporosis screening should be used for at-risk older men, a team of experts has recommended.

A team from Park Nicollet Health Services in Minneapolis assessed the cost and effectiveness of screening and treatment for men aged 65, 70, 75, 80 and 85 years.

Testing to determine bone density was followed by a five-year treatment programme if evidence of osteoporosis was present.

Published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, the study used a computer simulation model to estimate age-specific fracture rates and their associated costs.

The researchers looked at prior fractures, bone density and incident fractures.

Among men aged 80 or over, and for younger men with a previous fracture, the cost of the screening strategy did not exceed £25,000 for every year of 'quality' life gained, which is considered by medical experts to be within the acceptable range.

Osteoporosis, which literally means 'porous bones', is less common in men, who tend to have stronger bones than women and do not experience the rapid loss of bone density which is a side-effect of the menopause.