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Mil Med. 2011 Mar;176(3):270-5.

Potential association of posttraumatic stress disorder and decreased bone mineral density in repatriated prisoners of war.

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  • 1Robert E. Mitchell Center for Prisoner of War Studies, 220 Hovey Road, Pensacola, FL 32508, USA.



We conducted a retrospective evaluation of bone mineral density data collected during routine medical follow-up evaluations of 241 Vietnam-era male repatriated prisoners of war, with and without the lifetime diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 79 subjects in a comparison group.


Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans evaluated total hip and lumbar spine T-scores. A multivariate analysis of covariance was performed on the data using age, body mass index, ethnicity, and reported alcohol consumption as covariates.


There was a significant effect of group on total hip, but not lumbar spine, T-scores. Pairwise comparisons revealed statistically lower total hip T-scores in repatriates with a lifetime history of PTSD in comparison to both the comparison group and repatriates without a lifetime history of PTSD.


In this study of elderly repatriated prisoners of war, we noted an association between a lifelong history of PTSD and decreased bone mineral density at the hip.

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