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A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that moderate consumption of wine can increase bone mineral density (BMD) and prevent post-menopausal fractures linked to osteoporosis.


Researchers from the University of East Anglia and Kings College London have studied over 1,000 pairs of female of age about 55. The subjects were questioned about their dietary habits and the scientists have measured the thickness of their bones in the hip joint, the spine and the top of the femur. These are the places in which the bones are broken more often when osteoporosis occurred in post-menopause.

Moderate wine drinkers had higher bone density in the spine and the hip than non-drinkers, or drinkers of other types of alcohol (spirit, beer).

A glass of wine a day could prevent osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, stroke and heart attack, but excessive drinking increases risks of these conditions.

A glass of wine a day could prevent osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, stroke and heart attack, but excessive drinking increases risks of these conditions.


A diet of fish and chips, baked beans, meat pies and cooked meats apparently lowered bone mineral density and a diet high in fruit and vegetables seemed to have no substantial benefits.

Moderate intakes of alcohol from wine were associated with a higher bone mineral density and the consumption of a traditional 20th-century English diet was linked with a lower bone density,” said scientists.

The findings come before World Osteoporosis Day on October 20, 2011.

Polyphenols, found in the skin of grapes, could help the bones strengthening, not the alcohol, other studies have suggested. Polyphenols are known as antioxidants and they help to prevent heart and brain diseases (stroke, Alzheimer’s), besides osteoporosis.

While a glass a day could prevent osteoporisis, and smaller studies have suggested alcohol might have a protective effect, heavy drinking is known as a major factor that weakens the bones, and leads to osteoporosis.


It is not the first time when researchers focus on the linkage between osteoporosis and wine.


Katherine Tucker, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University in Boston, said in 2004 that beer could prevent osteoporosis in men bones, while wine is good for women bones. Beer contains silicon and wine polyphenols. The study was performed on 2,900 men and women, but there were not enough men who had drunk wine, nor women who had drunk beer, thus, the study only linked men to beer and women to wine. However, Professor Tucker said it is possible that men could benefit from two glasses of wine, while women from two cans of beer.

The study was presented at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research annual meeting. Men who drank one to two beers a day had around 7% higher hip bone mineral density than nondrinkers. In women, increase was slightly less but was still significantly better than bone mineral density in nondrinkers.

The same message about the importance of moderation was sent at that time too, because “while two cans of beer or two 6 ounce [177,44 ml] glasses of wine are good for bones, drinking more is harmful,” and about distilled beverages (vodka or Scotch) “daily consumption of more than two drinks promotes osteoporosis,” Professor Tucker said.


What is osteoporosis?


In children bones grow and regenerate rapidly, but in adults the process is slower. Over the age of 30 a person starts to lose bone mineral density. Through life old bone is being destroyed by osteoclasts and new bone is formed by osteoblasts. The osteoblasts (cells that produce new bone) became gradually outnumbered by osteoclasts (cells that remove the calcium and phosphorous from an old bone). The balance between these two types of cells is very important for a healthy bone.


Osteoporosis occurs when bone mineral density is lower. The bones are fragile and break (fracture) easily.

Osteoporosis occurs when bone mineral density is lower. The bones are fragile and break (fracture) easily.


Osteoporosis (porous bones, from Greek: ὀστέον/osteon meaning bone and πόρος/poros meaning pore) is a condition that causes bones to become weak and fragile and to break (fracture) easily. It appears frequently in the spine, wrist and hips. Osteoporosis is called a silent disease because lots of people become aware of it only until a fracture occurs.

The gold standard for diagnosis is dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA, formerly DEXA). It measures bone mineral density and expressed it in standard deviations from a young adult reference population (T-score).

* T-score -1.0 or greater is normal

* T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 is low bone mass (osteopenia)

* T-score -2.5 or below is osteoporosis

Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA and Japan.

Steroid drugs, smoke, heavy drinking and a family history of osteoporosis are important risk factors.

Worldwide, an osteoporotic fracture is estimated to occur every 3 seconds, a vertebral fracture every 22 seconds.

Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide – approximately one-tenth of women aged 60, one-fifth of women aged 70, two-fifths of women aged 80 and two-thirds of women aged 90.

About 20-25% of hip fractures occur in men. The overall mortality is about 20% in the first 12 months after hip fracture and is higher in men than women.

It is estimated that the lifetime risk of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture in men over the age of 50 is 30%, similar to the lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer. (Source: International Osteoporosis Foundation).


Can osteoporosis be prevented?


First the risk factors have to be removed. Adequate nutrition (with food rich in proteins, calcium and vitamin D), daily moderate sun exposure (to stimulate vitamin D production) and adequate exercise can slow osteoporosis progression and prevent fractures. An excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation increases the risk of skin tumors or melanoma. Childhood and adolescence are the perfect times to improve bone mineral density through exercise and to prevent osteoporosis.


2011 World Osteoporosis Day Animation (video)

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Osteoporosis-3D Medical Animation (video)

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Taking a new step on preventing melanoma, Edmund G. Brown, Jr., California Governor, signed on October 9 SB 746 into a law that restricts persons under age of 18 from using indoor tanning devices.


The law takes effect starting January 1, 2012.

It is the first time in the U.S. when a state interdicts tanning beds use to minors. Senate Bill 746 replaces the current law, which allows teens (14-17 years old) to use tanning beds if they have parental permission.

Minimum 32 states regulate the use of tanning devices by teens. In 2010 Howard County, Maryland was the first jurisdiction that restricted tanning booths for children under 18. Texas has prohibited the use of tanning booths for persons under 16.

Senator Ted W. Lieu is the author of the bill in the Senate and the law was sponsored by AIM at Melanoma and the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatological Surgery (CalDerm) and backed by medical organizations and health insurers.

Illinois, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island have considered the same age limit for tanning beds prohibition, but they have to enact the law.

Indoor Tanning Association said the interdiction affects businesses, lots of them owned by women, as around 5 percent to 10 percent of its members’ customers are under 18.

Tanning salons are regulated by the state Department of Consumer Affairs and the federal Food and Drug Administration, said the organization.


Using a tanning device before the age of 20 increases the risk of melanoma by two times.

Using a tanning device before the age of 20 increases the risk of melanoma by two times.



The linkage between tanning devices and melanoma was emphasized during the recent years.


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources (tanning beds and sun lamps) is a carcinogen, stated The United States Department of Health and Human Services in 2002.

People under the age of 35 who are exposed to indoor tanning have a 75 percent increased risk of skin cancer, and the younger you are exposed to indoor tanning, the greater your risk of getting potentially fatal melanoma,” Dr. Peter Beilenson said in 2009, citing a study from the World Health Organization.

Teenagers are much more likely to burn with indoor tanning. Fifty-eight percent report burning in indoor tanning. And burns, particularly at a young age, are clearly correlated with developing melanoma and other skin cancers later in life,” he said.


Repeated exposure to UV radiation from tanning devices before age of 35 is associated with a 75 percent increased risk of melanoma, and non-melanoma skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma), studies show.


Exposure to UV can cause skin damage which is cumulative and can lead to skin cancers, or melanoma.

Exposure to UV can cause skin damage which is cumulative and can lead to skin cancers, or melanoma.


Around 30 million people in the U. S., including 2.3 million teens, use tanning beds annually.

The use of tanning devices before the age of 20 double the risk of developing melanoma. In women between the ages of 25 and 30 melanoma causes more deaths than all other cancers, while in women 30-34 this deadliest skin cancer comes second after the breast cancer.

If everyone knew the true dangers of tanning beds, they’d be shocked. Skin cancer is a rising epidemic and the leading cause of cancer death for women between 25 and 29,” said Ted Lieu and cited a recent Stanford Cancer Institute study according to higher melanoma rates were found among girls and young women in areas of higher income.

Indoor tanning is especially harmful because of the intense and dangerous type of UV rays emitted from the tanning beds. Moreover the skin damage is cumulative, so the more exposure one gets younger in life, the worse the harmful effects will be,” he said.

More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer during the lifetime, it is estimated.


Jerry Brown was praised by the melanoma prevention supporters.


California is expected to have 8,250 new cases of melanoma in 2011, or approximately 12 percent of the estimated 70,000 cases nationwide. Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the last 30 years, but have been growing most rapidly — three percent per year — since 1992 among young women ages 15 to 39. We encourage other states to follow California’s lead and help slow the incidence of potentially deadly skin cancer by prohibiting the use of commercial tanning devices by minors,” said dermatologist Ann F. Haas, MD, FAAD, former president of the CalDerm.

I praise Governor Brown for his courage in taking this much-needed step to protect some of California’s most vulnerable residents – our kids – from what the ‘House of Medicine’ has conclusively shown is lethally dangerous: ultraviolet-emitting radiation from tanning beds,” said Ted Lieu.

Girls in affluent California communities especially are surrounded by the message that being tanned all year round is cool. Pop music star Katy Perry is even singing about it,” said Christina Clarke of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California.

The California Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery (CalDerm) and AIM at Melanoma Foundation, the bill’s two co-sponsors, applaud Governor Brown for taking the time to thoroughly understand the importance of this first-in-the-nation legislation. We also commend Senator Ted Lieu, his staff and the members of the California legislature who supported efforts to protect young Californians from the dangers of indoor tanning,” said Alex Miller, MD, President of CalDerm.

This is a major victory in the fight against melanoma. It is alarming that so many young women are unnecessarily developing melanoma because of a recreational activity. We applaud Governor Brown for taking advantage of this unique opportunity to blaze a trail by banning minors from using tanning beds. We thank him for joining our fight against this preventable killer,” said Valerie Guild, president and founder of AIM at Melanoma.

Valerie Guild lost her daughter (age 26) because of melanoma. AIM at Melanoma was founded in memory of Charlie Guild and Jim Schlipmann (who died of melanoma at 44). It is the largest international melanoma foundation focused on melanoma research, patient advocacy, legislation, education and awareness. The foundation supports melanoma research efforts by hosting international research forums and is helping to create the first melanoma tissue bank, widely believed by the oncology community to be a key to major breakthroughs in melanoma research.

For more information on melanoma please visit www.AIMatMelanoma.org, www.aad.org, or contact the Academy at 1 (888) 462-DERM (3376).