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Posted: August 19, 2008

Aspirin Seems to be Effective in Treating Osteoporosis

Researchers are analyzing the results of animal testing that found low-dosage aspirin to decrease the pace of osteoporosis and actually start to reverse the bone-brittling disease to see if the finding may apply to humans.

 

Osteoporosis, which is most common in post-menopausal women, has been thought to be triggered by increased activity by cells that break down bone mass. However, recent evidence suggests that a drop in bone-forming cells may also have a role in the condition that afflicts 55% of Americans age 50 or older, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

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The Foundation says osteoporosis is a major public health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans, mostly older women. In the US today, 10 million individuals are estimated to already have the disease and nearly 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis.

 

University of Southern California researchers, reporting in the online journal PLos One, said they found that aspirin reduced the destruction of bone-forming cells in lab tests on mice. They also said that their testing showed that adding low-dose aspirin makes bone-forming cells more active and bone-degrading cells less active, resulting in thicker and stronger bones.

 

"Aspirin may offer a new approach" for treating the osteoporosis commonly seen in postmenopausal women, concluded the researchers, headed by Dr. Songtao Shi from USC School of Dentistry in Los Angeles.

 

While previous studies involving humans have suggested that regular use of aspirin may have a moderate beneficial effect on bone thickness in postmenopausal women, the USC researchers concluded that more detailed studies are needed to understand what it is about aspirin that seems to treat and may even eventually prevent osteoporosis.

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