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23-11-2011 | General practice | Article

WBV does not prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women


Free abstract

MedWire News: Whole-body vibration (WBV) therapy does not alter bone mineral density (BMD) or bone structure in postmenopausal women receiving calcium and vitamin D supplements, research shows.

Based on the results, WBV should "not be recommended for preventing age-related bone loss in this population," according to Angela Cheung (University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and colleagues in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

WBV has gained popularity in the past decade as a therapy to combat osteoporosis. Treatment involves standing on a vibrating platform that sends energy up from the feet into the muscles and bone. Randomized trials to date have shown conflicting results about the effectiveness of this novel therapy.

In this study, Cheung and colleagues randomly assigned 202 healthy women to stand on a low-magnitude 30-Hz WBV platform or a low-magnitude 90-Hz platform for 20 minutes daily for 12 months, or to serve as a control group.

The change from baseline to 12 months in the mean tibial trabecular volumetric BMD, the study's primary endpoint, was 0.4 mg/cm3, -0.1 mg/cm3, and -0.2 mg/cm3 in the 90-hz group, the 30-Hz group, and the control group, respectively.

Compared with no WBV therapy, the changes observed in the WBV arms were not statistically significant.

Indeed, treatment with WBV had no significant effect on any bone outcomes at 12 months compared with no WBV therapy, including measures of BMD, volume, and thickness in the distal tibia, distal radius, and BMD in the femoral neck, hip, and lumbar spine.

Three patients treated with WBV discontinued therapy within 2 months due to dizziness, chronic shin pain, and chronic foot pain. Other side effects were mild and transient, but included pain and numbness in parts of the leg.

"Overall, low-magnitude WBV is not an effective therapy for preventing bone loss in postmenopausal women who are receiving calcium and vitamin D supplementation," conclude Cheung and colleagues.

By Joanna Lyford

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