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Title: Osteoporosis in survivors of early life starvation
Contributor(s): Weisz, George M  (author); Albury, William Randall  (author)
Publication Date: 2013
DOI: 10.1071/PY12004
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Abstract: The objective of this study was to provide evidence for the association of early life nutritional deprivation and adult osteoporosis, in order to suggest that a history of such deprivation may be an indicator of increased risk of osteoporosis in later life. The 'fetal programming' of a range of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders in adults was first proposed in the 1990s and more recently extended to disorders of bone metabolism. Localised famines during World War II left populations in whom the long-term effects of maternal, fetal and infantile nutritional deprivation were studied. These studies supported the original concept of 'fetal programming' but did not consider bone metabolism. The present paper offers clinical data from another cohort of World War II famine survivors - those from the Holocaust. The data presented here, specifically addressing the issue of osteoporosis, report on 11 Holocaust survivors in Australia (five females, six males) who were exposed to starvation in early life. The cases show, in addition to other metabolic disorders associated with early life starvation, various levels of osteoporosis, often with premature onset. The cohort studied is too small to support firm conclusions, but the evidence suggests that the risk of adult osteoporosis in both males and females is increased by severe starvation early in life - not just in the period from gestation to infancy but also in childhood and young adulthood. It is recommended that epidemiological research on this issue be undertaken, to assist planning for the future health needs of immigrants to Australia coming from famine affected backgrounds. Pending such research, it would be prudent for primary care health workers to be alert to the prima facie association between early life starvation and adult osteoporosis, and to take this factor into account along with other indicators when assessing a patient's risk of osteoporosis in later life.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Primary Health, 19(1), p. 3-6
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Collingwood, Australia
ISSN: 1836-7399
Field of Research (FOR): 210307 European History (excl British, Classical Greek and Roman)
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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