Los Angeles—Predicting which women might experience faster bone loss during menopause—thereby instituting proper treatment—has been difficult. Now, a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reveals the development of a new index to help make that determination. Testing the blood or urine for proteins that reflect either bone breakdown or bone formation alone didn’t always give a clear answer, according to study authors led by University of California, Los Angeles researchers. Since both bone breakdown and bone formation occur at the same time in the body, the study team created a tool, the Bone Balance Index, that accounts for both processes. To create the index and test its predictive ability, the researchers used data from a cohort of 685 women between 42 and 52 years old as they went through menopause. The index was found to be a stronger predictor of bone loss from two years before the final menstrual period to 3 to 4 years later—when bone density typically accelerates—than just a measurement of bone breakdown.

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