A Medical College of Wisconsin researcher team did a statistical analysis to see if older women are more or less likely to have the bone density test that would tell them their bone status. The retrospective study looked at the Medicare records of nearly 44,000 women from age 65 to 90 to see how many of them had a bone density test from 1999 to 2001. They looked at the association between frequency of testing and the age of the women, controlling for factors such as socioeconomic class, race and other diseases they may have had.

"Since osteoporosis can be helped with appropriate therapy, it is especially important for older women to find out whether or not they need the therapy. Treatment with hormones or bone-building drugs can slow the process, rebuild some bone and reduce the risk of fracture by one-third," Dr. Neuner says.

The best scenario would be the oldest women being the most frequent subjects of bone density screenings. That did not prove to be the case. In fact, the research team found just the opposite. The older the age group, the fewer women had bone density tests.

The research team found out that the older the age group, the fewer women had bone density tests. 27 percent of women in the youngest age group, 65-70, had the test. At age 71-75, only 25.6 percent had it and; after age 75, the number fell to less than 10 percent.

The study points out the need for greater patient and physician education to convince women to get the testing they need, especially as they grow older and to determine if osteoporosis therapy would benefit them.

MEDICA.de; Source: Medical College of Wisconsin