More Bad News from Clincial Studies
The practice of medicine is not a science. There are many scientifically proven medical therapies, but there are many areas where a scientifically proven answer does not yet exist. Unfortunately, doctors do not always have the luxury of waiting for a clear answer.
Another clinical study has come out and the New York Times reports that calcium supplements are not effective at preventing broken bones. This comes on the heels of studies that show low-fat diets do not prevent heart attacks or cancer. In this case it was also shown that supplements do cause kidney stones. Overall it appears that recommending large scale use of calcium supplements is unwise. Luckily there are treatments that are proven to be effective.
Women who actually do have the condition should consider taking one of the seven F.D.A.-approved prescription drugs on the market that have been shown in rigorous clinical trials to prevent fractures, he advised. Six of the drugs inhibit bone breakdown and one spurs the growth of new bone.
In the end there are going to be two problems. One is that doctors’ credibility will be hurt, and the other problem will be for the supplement makers.
Its investigators also realized, of course, that they would be applying the cold light of science to popular messages that have fueled a booming calcium supplement industry, with annual sales, reports Dr. Joel S. Finkelstein, an osteoporosis researcher at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, of $993 million on 2004.
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