Women who are 65 and older routinely undergo bone-density testing to screen for osteoporosis. But for those between the ages of 50 and 64, it has been unclear who should be screened.
Researchers sought to determine how well the current screening strategy recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force -- the independent expert panel appointed by the federal government to review and recommend various screenings -- would perform in identifying candidates in this age range for screening.
Using health data on women ages 50-64 from the Women's Health Initiative study, the researchers found that the current strategy would identify only 34 percent of women who actually had bone-mineral density in the osteoporosis range.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force strategy may not identify the majority of women in the 50-64 age group who would be potential candidates for osteoporosis therapy. As a result, following the strategy may lead to missed opportunities to decrease fracture risk in at-risk women.
Lead study author Dr. Carolyn Crandall, a professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is available for interviews.
Crandall received support from UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Women's Health Initiative is funded by the NIH's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (contracts HSN268201100046C, HHSN268201100001C, HHSN268201100002C, HHSN268201100003C, HHSN268201100004C, and HHSN271201100004C).
The research was published this month in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research