The effect of anorexia nervosa on bone morphometry in young women.

L O Crosby
F S Kaplan
Michael Pertschuk
J L Mullen


Changes in bone morphometry during chronic undernutrition were evaluated in 14 young women with anorexia nervosa (mean age +/- SEM = 25.5 +/- 4.4 yrs). Bone morphometry studies using the second metacarpal of the left hand showed significant depression for percent cortical area (p less than 0.05); cortical area (p less than 0.001) and combined cortical thickness (p less than 0.01) as compared to age, sex and race matched controls. A trend (p less than 0.10) was observed in study subjects for reductions in bone width and total area. Using percent cortical area (PCA) as the standard, subjects had mean cortical bone morphometry equivalent to 60-year-old women. Appendicular bone mass is significantly decreased in adults with anorexia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa should be considered in the differential diagnosis of osteopenia in young women, and serves as a model for studying the effects of chronic calorie and mineral malnutrition on bone remodeling at the time of attainment of peak bone mass.