Saturday, September 26, 2009

Can depression cause osteoporosis?

[Studies indicate that a link exists and that the risk of bone disease is further increased by behaviour and medication, "One theory is that stress hormones released during depression may play a role ... The other theory is that if you suffer a bone fracture, your quality of life goes down. The question is, is it causal?" ]

In the feel-good French movie Amélie, audiences are introduced to an eccentric old character held hostage by his home and his own body. He's dubbed "The Glass Man."

Raymond Dufayel was born with bones as brittle as crystal. All the furniture in his Parisian apartment is padded, explains the narrator, and a simple handshake could crush his fingers. He's been trapped inside his home for 20 years and leads a small, lonely life.

In the 2000 thriller Unbreakable, a comic book specialist played by Samuel L. Jackson, nicknamed "Mr. Glass," is convinced he's found a real-life superhero in an unremarkable security guard played by Bruce Willis. His obsession is fuelled by his own crystalline skeleton and a villainous drive to find purpose for his lonesome, handicapped life.

Tall tales from cinematic imaginations? Of course. Entirely without foundation? Not so for those suffering from osteoporosis.

When Debbie Howe suffered a spinal fracture after bending over to pick up her baby, she was housebound for six months, and told she had the bones of 75-year-old woman. Six weeks later, she broke another vertebra from raising her arms over her head to shampoo her hair. She was 36 at the time.

"Those were some pretty grey days," Howe, now 57, said in her King City home.

Over the last decade or so, the relationship between depression, the use of antidepressants and osteoporosis has been the subject of a growing body of research.


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