Adolescent onset anorexia nervosa: a model for the effects of inadequate nutrition upon bone size and development

Justine Turner

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Despite usual onset during adolescence the cause of low bone density in adolescent onset anorexia nervosa is incompletely understood. Puberty is known to be a crucial time for the development of peak bone mass, due principally to growth plate bone formation and modelling on preformed surfaces. This results in bone formation uncoupled from bone resorption leading to increased bone size due to increase in matrix and bone mineral content. It was hypothesized that low bone density in adolescent anorexia nervosa was caused by malnutrition during puberty suppressing normal bone matrix formation at all sites of bone formation thus arresting bone mineralization. Method 49 female adolescents with anorexia nervosa and 109 healthy female adolescent controls were studied. 22 of the anorexia nervosa subjects were studied again a year later. Bone area, mineral content and density were measured using Dual Xray Absorptiometry at the spine, hip and whole body sites, including body composition assessment. Estimated volumetric bone density was calculated using published equations in order to study bone density independent of bone size. Height, weight and Tanner stage in puberty were measured. Dietary intake and physical exercise were assessed using questionnaires. In a subset of anorexia nervosa and control subjects bone age was measured. In a subset of anorexia nervosa subjects bone formation was assessed using serum bone specific alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin, and bone resorption was assessed using urine N-telopeptide.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2005


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