JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Alcoholism-associated spinal and femoral bone loss in abstinent male alcoholics, as measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry.

Although alcoholism is a known risk factor for osteoporosis, there are few published reports on alcoholism-associated bone loss. To study alcoholism-associated bone loss, this study used a dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) densitometer to measure lumbar and femoral bone mineral density (BMD) in a previously little-studied population: 32 relatively healthy, nonhospitalized, Caucasian, alcoholic men with a period of abstinence longer than that previously studied (median abstinence 4.0 months, range 3 days-36 months). DXA is a new, highly precise densitometric method with many advantages over the methods used in previous studies. The subjects had statistically significant bone loss at three sites: lumbar spine, femoral neck, and Ward's triangle (multiple correction adjusted two-tailed P < 0.008). Compared to the mean BMD of sex-, age-, and race-matched norms, the subjects' average femoral neck, Ward's triangle, and lumbar BMDs were, respectively, 0.56, 0.69, and 0.57 standard deviations (SDs) below the normative values.

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