A child's vitamin K status could have important long-term implications on bone health

July 28, 2008

     An improved status of vitamin K was linked to improved bone health in both healthy children and sufferers of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, according to findings of a newly published study. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is reportedly the most prevalent rheumatic disease in children, affecting one in every 250 children in the US, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
     In the children with JIA, a higher vitamin K status was associated with markedly higher bone parameters (stronger-denser bones) according to researchers from the University Medical Centre Utrecht and the University of Maastricht.The study is published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology Volume 26, Issue 3.

Fosamax tied to hip fracture if used for too long

     Prolonged use of the bisphosphonate drug Fosamax, also referred to by the generic name alendronate, may increase the risk of fractures of the femur, the large thigh bone that connects the leg to the hip, according to physicians at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
     There has been a build-up of evidence suggesting that long-term alendronate use may overly suppress bone metabolism, limiting the repair of microdamage and increasing the risk of fractures, the researchers lead by Dr. Joseph M. Lane and colleagues report in the Journal of Orthopedic Trauma.
     To investigate this risk, the New York-based research team reviewed all 70 patients femoral fractures admitted to their Level 1 trauma center between 2002 and 2007. The average patient age was 75 years and the group included 59 women. Records showed that 25 patients (36 percent) were being treated with alendronate. Nineteen of the 20 patients who had the same fracture pattern were also taking alendronate, the authors report. The other patient was later diagnosed with cancer.
     The average duration of alendronate use was significantly longer in patients with femoral stress fractures than in the six treated patients without this type of fracture, 6.9 years versus 2.5 years, respectively. Otherwise, there were no significant differences in age, race, weight or history of osteoporosis among patients with and those without this fracture pattern, the report indicates. Lane and his associates call for further research to determine if this effect is associated with all bisphosphonate drugs and if it became apparent first with alendronate because this drug has been available for the longest time and is the most widely used. The study is published in the May-June 2008 issue of the Journal of Orthopedic Trauma.