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COVID-19 pandemic likely compromised bone health: Study

IANS Nov 23, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic has had negative effects on bone tissue including both bone mineral density in the forearm and total bone mineral content, according to a study.

The study by investigators at Comenius University, in Slovakia, included 387 young adults whose bone health measurements were taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and 386 whose measurements were taken from September 2020 to November 2022 during the pandemic. Individuals participated in the study only once, either before or during the pandemic.

Results published in the American Journal of Human Biology suggest that certain lifestyle changes during the pandemic may have contributed to the lower bone mineral density and total bone mineral content that researchers observed in participants assessed during the pandemic compared with those assessed earlier.

“Our findings indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant bone mineral density decrease in young adults,” said co-corresponding author Lenka Vorobeľova.

"Additional research is needed to evaluate this pandemic-related bone tissue reduction as an important symptom of long-COVID-syndrome," added co-corresponding author Darina Falbova.

They also stressed that additional studies should investigate the post-pandemic risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture in older populations.

A previous study in the experimental model showed that SARS‐CoV‐2 infection causes inflammation that can lead to significant changes in bone structure.

The study, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, suggested that people with COVID-19 may experience long‐term orthopaedic issues, such as decreased bone mass, increased fracture risk and other musculoskeletal complications.

In the study, an experimental model who had COVID-19 showed significant bone loss. This loss decreased the bone's mechanical strength and increased the risk of fractures.

The study suggested that the higher risk of fragility fractures when a person falls from a standing height or less may be one of the underreported long-haul symptoms of COVID.

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