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NIAMS Grant Targets Osteoporosis in Men

Osteoporosis, the major bone-weakening and fracture-causing disease that has long been studied in women, will now undergo major scrutiny in men with the award of a seven-center, $23.8 million grant by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in partnership with the National Institute on Aging and the National Cancer Institute.

The 7-year study, which will enroll and then follow some 5,700 men age 65 and older for an average of 4.5 years, will determine the extent to which the risk of fracture in men is related to bone mass and structure, biochemistry, lifestyle, tendency to fall and other factors. The study will also try to determine if bone mass is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Such a relationship already exists between high bone mass and breast cancer, another hormonally sensitive condition.

"Although the lifetime risk of older men for fractures of the hip, spine or wrist is considerable, the cause and pathology of osteoporosis in men hasn't received the research attention we'd like," said NIAMS director Dr. Stephen Katz. "We're excited about this major study in men that will plow the same kind of fertile ground that has yielded so much for the health of women."

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