Health notes: Bone-loss study seeks 20 women volunteers

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A Duquesne University research team is seeking participants for a human clinical trial to examine whether a formulation of melatonin, strontium citrate and vitamins D3 and K2 can treat bone loss in women with a thinning-bone condition known as osteopenia.

Paula Witt-Enderby, a Duquesne professor of pharmacology, and Mark Swanson, a naturopathic physician, are seeking 20 female postmenopausal volunteers who've been diagnosed with osteopenia-related bone loss and who are considering treatment to increase bone density.

Each study participant will be asked to keep a diary and complete seven visits.

Participants also will receive two free scans to measure lumbar-spine and hip-bone density; free blood tests for bone formation cells, vitamin D3 and melatonin levels; free clinical health assessments, symptom and quality of life questionnaires; free study medications; and free parking.

Ms. Witt-Enderby conducted a human clinical trial three years ago that revealed that melatonin -- a natural molecule released nightly in the body and by a popular over-the-counter sleep aid -- helped to prevent bone loss in healthy women entering menopause.

Strontium also has been shown to promote healthful effects in most organs and tissues of the body, including bone. The team hypothesizes that strontium and melatonin will have a synergistic effect in bone greater than strontium alone and at a lower dose. Mr. Swanson said strontium's impact on bone formation is much more powerful than calcium.

Women interested in participating should send an email to

Seniors who sit too much

If you're 60 or older, each additional hour you spend sitting increases your risk of becoming disabled by 50 percent, according to a study at Northwestern University.

Researchers at the Feinberg School of Medicine studied 2,286 people 60 years old and up who wore accelerometers to measure how much time they spent in moderate physical activity, and for how long they were sedentary.

A 65-year-old woman who is sedentary for 13 hours a day is 50 percent more likely to become disabled than a 65-year-old woman who sits for 12 hours a day, the researchers found.

The study, which was published Feb. 19 in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health, is the first to show sedentary behavior is its own risk factor for disability, separate from lack of moderate physical activity

The lead author of the study said she was surprised by the finding that being sedentary is nearly as great a risk factor for disability as a lack of exercise.

"It means older adults need to reduce the amount of time they spend sitting, whether in front of the TV or at the computer, regardless of their participation in moderate or vigorous activity," said Dorothy Dunlop, a professor of medicine.

Other studies have shown that much of the harm done by too much sitting can be alleviated if you stand up every half-hour or so, stretch and walk about.

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