In men, major depressive disorder has a negative impact on bone mineral density, a cross-sectional study shows.

The study included 928 men, aged 24-98. Each study participant’s ultradistal forearm, lumbar spine, total hip, and total body bone mineral density (BMD) (g/cm2) were measured using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Clinicians queried patients on their history of major depressive disorder (MDD) and whether they were currently using antidepressants. Of the study population, 84 (9.1%) had a single manic episode, 50 (5.4%) had recurrent (at least two ) manic episodes, and 65 (7.0%) were using antidepressants.

Study participants with recurrent MDD had lower forearm, total hip, lumbar spine, and total body BMDs than study participants who had one manic episode or had no history of MDD. After age and weight adjustments, recurrent MDD was significantly associated with lower forearm and total body BMDs, with forearm BMDs having been 6.5% lower and total body BMDs having been 2.5% lower in study participants with recurrent MDD than in those with no history of MDD.

Those men who had experienced a single manic episode actually had higher forearm, total hip, and total body BMDs than men with no history of MDD. Also, single-episode MDD was positively associated with total hip BMD – a finding that Paivi H. Rauma, a PhD student and researcher at University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, and her colleagues said they could not explain.

Among the study’s other results was that antidepressant use was associated with lower BMD for the men studied with the lowest body weights (between 75 kg and 110 kg).

“We found that MDD and antidepressant use were independently associated with BMD; however, separation of these two issues is difficult,” the researchers wrote. “In all, prevention of depression, its early detection, and appropriate medical care are important issues in the prevention and care of osteoporosis in men. Lastly, these data raise the issue of screening for BMD in risk populations.”

Read the full study in Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions.


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