Major Depressive Disorder May Be Associated With Low Bone Density In Men

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According to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland in collaboration with Deakin University, Australia, men with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) and notably more likely to have lower bone mineral density (BMD).

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The use of antidepressants is already known to be linked with lower BMD, however this association is dependent on weight and site of bone measurement – not gender.

Osteoporosis is a widespread health problem, especially for postmenopausal women. For the elderly, this can be a severe risk as high susceptibility to fracture and serious hip fractures often result in long-term hospitalization and lower overall health.

Other risk factors for the condition include low levels of physical activity, smoking, inadequate calcium or vitamin D intake, and some medications and diseases.

In the new study, which is a part of the Ph.D. project of researcher Paivi Rauma from the University of Eastern Finland, Rauma and colleagues analyzed the link between single and recurrent MDD episodes and the use of antidepressants with bone density levels in men using data from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS).

The GOS was conducted by the Barwon Health hospital district in Australia between 2006 and 2011. In all, 928 men between the ages of 24 and 98 completed a comprehensive questionnaire and underwent BMD assessments at the forearm, spine, total hip, and total body.

According to the results, nine percent of participants had experienced a single MDD episode within the time period of the study, and five percent reported recurrent MDD. Additionally, seven percent of the participants reported the use of antidepressants at the time of their assessment.

Antidepressent use was linked with lower BDM only in men with lower weights, and varied across the bone sites. For example, the use of antidepressants was associated with reduced bone density in the hip in men weighing less than 242 pounds.

Lastly, the findings indicate that recurrent major depression may potentially increase the risk of osteoporosis in men, leading the researchers to suggest the use of antidepressants should be taken into account as a potential risk factor of osteoporosis especially in men with a low body weight.

The findings are published in the Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions.

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