Runners wanted for WITS study on bone density

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 under Running | No Comment was approached by Dr. Joanne McVeigh from Wits Medical School to call for South African runners to partake in a study looking at bone density in a variety of athletes. We hope that this call appeals to you and ask you to contact here if you’re interested in the study:

Are you training or straining?

Exercise, specifically the weight-bearing kind, is one of the best things we can do to help build and maintain healthy bones. Exercises, like running, walking and weight-lifting, put strain on the skeletal structure and our bones respond by supporting that stress.

Retired athletes have been shown to have an increased bone mass when compared to people who were not physically active in their youth. Recently, there has been evidence to show that competitive road cyclists are 7 times more likely to develop osteopenia of the spine when compared to runners. Osteopenia is the term indicating some bone loss. It is the precursor of osteoporosis, which is a high degree of bone loss.

Are you interested in finding out your bone mass?

We are running a research project which will assess the bone mineral density of male athletes participating in weight bearing (running and mountain biking) and non-weight bearing (swimming and road cycling) sports. We are researching whether the different types of physical activity have different effects on bone mineral density (bone strength).

We are looking for male athletes (runners, mountain bikers, road cyclists and swimmers), aged 18-29 and participating in their chosen sport for a minimum of 5 hours per week. If you choose to partake in our study, you will be asked to come into the Wits Medical School (Parktown, Johannesburg) for a visit lasting approximately one and a half hours. We will take some measurements and perform a Dual Energy X Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scan on your bones where bone mineral density and body fat percentage will be measured. This scan provides valuable information regarding the status of your bone health and is worth over R2000. Your participation in this study will contribute to medical knowledge that may help us to establish whether athletes who participate in non-weight bearing sports are at risk for osteoporosis later on in life. You will not be paid to participate in this study but your transport costs will be reimbursed adequately. Our study has been approved by the board for Human Ethics at the University of the Witwatersrand.

For more information please contact Dr Joanne McVeigh: or 011 717 2154

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