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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 Oct;40(10):1215-21.

Adolescent anorexia nervosa: the catch-up effect in bone mineral density after recovery.

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  • 1Section of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry and Psychology, Hospital Clinic Universitari, Barcelona, Spain.



To determine whether bone mineral density (BMD) loss can be reversed in adolescent anorexic patients.


A prospective study with 108 anorexia nervosa patients (DSM-IV) from 12 to 17 years of age at the Eating Disorders Unit in the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona (Spain). They were first evaluated by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry in lumbar spine and femoral neck consecutively from 1997 until 1999 and reexamined after 6 to 30 months. Results were compared with normative values of bone mass.


Patients with poor outcome (n = 44) had a bone mass loss. Patients with good short-term outcome were divided in two groups. The group with normal BMD at first evaluation (n = 41) had a bone mass gain per year of 3.0% at lumbar spine and 0.5% at femoral neck. The group with low BMD at first evaluation (n = 23) had an increase per year of 9.1% at lumbar spine and 4.5% at femoral neck. In a multiple linear regression analysis with the variables body mass index, age, months with menstruation, and BMD zscore at first evaluation, the only predictor of BMD increase was the first z score both at the lumbar spine (coefficient R = 0.64; p < .001) and at the femoral neck (coefficient R = 0.5; p < .001).


There is a catch-up effect in adolescent patients with low BMD but good short-term outcome.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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