Women aged 67 years and older with normal bone mineral density (BMD) scores may not need to undergo such testing again for 10 years, according to a new analysis.

At the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bone Mineral Research, Margaret L. Gourlay, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine, described her research team’s results: A review of data from 5,035 women taking part in the long-running Study of Osteoporotic Fractures showed that baseline BMD is the most important factor for practitioners to consider when determining how often a patient should be screened. The researchers also concluded that older postmenopausal women with a T-score ≤-2.0 will transition to osteoporosis more rapidly, and women with T-scores >-2.0 might not need to be screened again for five to 10 years.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has no firm recommendation for optimal intervals for repeated screening but notes that such testing may need to be done as frequently as every two years in women aged 65 years and older.

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In related news, the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) has issued a report that calls on health professionals to recognize the signs of osteoporotic fractures in their patients. “Currently, only about 40% of older women with spinal fractures visible on x-ray are tested for osteoporosis,” the authors noted in a statement describing the IOF report, The Breaking Spine . “The figure is even lower in men—less than 20%.”