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Individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa are at risk for Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a severe thinning of bone that can result in crush fractures and life-long physical activity impairment. More than half of all women and girls with anorexia nervosa experience this devastating complication, which can result in bones that resemble those of women in their 70s and 80s. Bone loss is even more severe in women with anorexia nervosa than in post-menopausal women and is common at all stages of the illness, even among young patients with recent onset disease. The mechanisms of bone loss in this population include undernutrition, low calcium intake, overproduction of glucocorticoids (stress hormones), amenorrhea (loss of menses), and an inability of bones to respond to growth hormone. Current therapeutic options have proven to be ineffective in preventing bone loss.

Our physicians at the internationally recognized Neuroendocrine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital are now conducting several exciting research studies aimed at learning more about the mechanisms of bone loss in anorexia nervosa and applying novel treatments that may help improve bone density in this population.

We are actively recruiting both adolescent and adult participants for several research studies described on this site, and we hope that you will consider participating. We encourage you to investigate the educational material we provide regarding anorexia nervosa and bone loss, and please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like further information.