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'Hamburger medicine' spells danger

Patients with Parkinson's disease have an extremely high prevalence of osteoporosis and should be routinely screened for the disease, researchers conclude.

Their study found 70 per cent of patients with Parkinson's had confirmed osteoporosis ­ yet only 6 per cent had been previously diagnosed.

Study leader Dr Tarun Solanki, consultant physician in care of the elderly at Taun-ton and Somerset NHS Trust, said it was critical GPs were aware of the link between Parkinson's and osteoporosis.

'Anyone dealing with patients with Parkinson's disease should consider treatment for osteoporosis as well,' he said.

The researchers performed heel ultrasound scans of 31 patients with idiopathic Parkinson's and found 22 had T scores of less than -2.5 ­ in nine cases less than -3.0.

'Patients with Parkinson's are at increased risk of falls and also have increased incidence of osteoporosis. These patients should be offered screening for osteoporosis,' concluded the study, which will be presented at next week's European Federation of Neurological Societies conference in Athens, Greece.

Dr Jonathan Bayly, member of the scientific advisory group of the National Osteoporosis Society and clinical lead for Gloucestershire primary and community care audit group, said: 'I would suggest all patients with Park- inson's should have an assessment of their bone health.'

But he cautioned that not all GPs would be able to offer screening because of lack of availability of DEXA scanning: 'This all depends on whether there are local resources. There are quite a lot of DEXA scanners in the country but there are huge black holes.'

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