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TWO MAJOR STUDIES OF OSTEOPOROSIS SET AT BOWMAN GRAY

     TWO MAJOR STUDIES OF OSTEOPOROSIS SET AT BOWMAN GRAY
    WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Two of the biggest studies of the effects of osteoporosis in women are set to begin at the Bowman Gray/Baptist Hospital Medical Center.
    FIT, or the Fracture Intervention Trial, is an 11-center nationwide study funded by the Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories.  It will provide $2 million to the Medical Center to investigate whether a new drug, bisphosphonate, has any effect on the incidence of fractures in women aged 55-79.
    Dr. Grethe Tell, associate professor of public health sciences (epidemiology), is the principal investigator.
    "This is a very exciting study because it's the first large-scale clinical trial of its kind in the country using human subjects," says Tell.
    Recruitment of subjects will begin with mass mailings to more than 50,000 women in Forsyth and Guilford counties.  From that screening, bout 4,000 women will be tested for bone density to determine the final 600 women to be included in the study.
    Women currently taking estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) will not be eligible to participate.
    Two clinics, one in the Cardiovascular Health Study Building on Hawthorne Road in Winston-Salem and another at a site to be determined in Greensboro, will be operated.
    Call recruitment coordinator Kim Dameworth, (919) 748-6703, for more information about FIT.
    Tell is also the principal investigator for a $500,000 study of falls among the elderly, funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
    "The premise of this study is that women usually do not incur fractures unless they fall," Tell says.  "We want to look at  the risk factors for falls among elderly men and women."
    All subjects for this study will be recruited from patients 67 and older already enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) at the Bowman Gray/Baptist Hospital Medical Center.  Several risk factors related to cardiovascular disease, including number and types of medications, may also contribute to falls, according to Tell. A distinguishing feature will be an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan of all participants to detect so-called "silent strokes," those mini-episodes of blockage that present no symptoms but carry the potential for disabling disease in the future.
    Other components of the study will include measurements of postural hypotension, a rapid fall in blood pressure when rising from a sitting or lying position, gait and balance, and neuromuscular function.
    One method of measuring balance is called dynamic posturography, a computerized analysis that can isolate dysfunction to specific anatomical causes, such as the inner ear or weakness in legs during changes in position.
    "This is the first time so many different risk factors for falls have been looked at in one study," says Tell.
    -0-                          11/5/91
    /CONTACT:  Stephen McCollum, Office of Information, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, 919-748-4587/ CO:  Bowman Gray School of Medicine ST:  North Carolina IN:  MTC SU: CM -- CH002 -- 1116 11/05/91 09:12 EST
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 5, 1991
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