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Whole-Body Vibration Therapy for the Prevention of Bone Loss FREE

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The full report is titled “Effect of 12 Months of Whole-Body Vibration Therapy on Bone Density and Structure in Postmenopausal Women. A Randomized Trial.” It is in the 15 November 2011 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 155, pages 668-679). The authors are L. Slatkovska, S.M.H. Alibhai, J. Beyene, H. Hu, A. Demaras, and A.M. Cheung.

Ann Intern Med. 2011;155(10):I-38. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-155-10-201111150-00002
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

After menopause, women frequently experience progressive bone loss, which places them at increased risk for bone fractures. Exercising and receiving calcium and vitamin D supplements, although helpful, do not always prevent bone loss or the eventual need for prescription medications to prevent loss and fractures. Whole-body vibration (WBV), which involves standing on an oscillating platform for several minutes each day, has been suggested as a possible way to prevent bone loss, and several companies have been marketing WBV devices to the public. Whether WBV works to prevent bone loss in women after menopause is unknown.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To find out whether WBV in addition to calcium and vitamin D supplementation reduces bone loss in women after menopause.

Who was studied?

202 women who had experienced menopause and who had low bone mass but not enough to require prescription medicines.

How was the study done?

The participants were randomly assigned to receive WBV at either of 2 speeds or to a control group. Those in the WBV groups were asked to stand on the WBV platform for 20 minutes each day. Women in all 3 groups received calcium and vitamin D supplements. Bone density was measured at the beginning and the end of the study.

What did the researchers find?

Although WBV was well-tolerated, the rate of bone loss did not differ among the groups. Women in each of the 2 WBV groups lost bone density at the same rate as women in the control group during the year of the study.

What were the limitations of the study?

Women in the control group could not be provided with a platform that would mimic but not provide actual WBV. Not all participants performed WBV each day during the study.

What are the implications of the study?

Whole-body vibration should not be recommended to prevent bone loss in women who are receiving calcium and vitamin D supplements.





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