In a cross-sectional study of 70 early postmenopausal women, regional bone measurements were compared with total body calcium (TBCa). Spinal and forearm trabecular bone were mainly related to age and time since menopause. In contrast, TBCa and forearm integral (cortical and trabecular) and cortical bone were unrelated to age, although the time since menopause also had some influence. Forearm integral and cortical bone measurements were quite well correlated with TBCa (r = 0.84 and 0.73, respectively, P less than 0.001). The correlation between spinal bone measurements and any of the forearm measurements, even purely trabecular bone, was weak (r less than 0.52, P less than 0.001). Our results show quite clearly that forearm bone measurements cannot be used to predict bone density in the vertebrae. Loss of ovarian function affects bone in general, and trabecular bone in particular. Bone measurements at specific anatomical sites are clearly necessary for studies of metabolic bone diseases and their response to treatment.


J C Stevenson, L M Banks, T J Spinks, C Freemantle, I MacIntyre, R Hesp, G Lane, J A Endacott, M Padwick, M I Whitehead


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