- No evidence of a significant effect of lifetime fluoride intake on bone microstructure at early adulthood
- Iowa Bone Development Study cohort at age 19 years
- High resolution multi-row detector CT imaging at the distal tibia
- Quantitative measures of cortical and trabecular bone microstructure
- Individual trabecular plate-rod and longitudinal-transverse characterization of the distal tibia
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of period-specific and cumulative fluoride (F) intake on bone at the levels of cortical and trabecular bone microstructural outcomes at early adulthood using emerging multi-row detector computed tomography (MDCT)-based novel techniques.
Ultra-high resolution MDCT distal tibia scans were collected at age 19 visits under the Iowa Bone Development Study (IBDS), and cortical and trabecular bone microstructural outcomes were computed at the distal tibia using previously validated methods. CT scans of a tissue characterization phantom were used to calibrate CT numbers (Hounsfield units) into bone mineral density (mg/cc). Period-specific and cumulative F intakes from birth up to the age of 19 years were assessed for IBDS participants through questionnaire, and their relationships with MDCT-derived bone microstructural outcomes were examined using bivariable and multivariable analyses, adjusting for height, weight, maturity offset (years since age of peak height velocity (PHV)), physical activity (questionnaire for adolescents (PAQ-A)), healthy eating index version 2010 (HEI-2010) scores, and calcium and protein intakes.
MDCT distal tibia scans were acquired for 324 participants from among the total of 329 participants at age 19 visits. No motion artifacts were observed in any MDCT scans, and all images were successfully processed to measure cortical and trabecular bone microstructural outcomes. At early adulthood, males were observed to have stronger trabecular bone microstructural features, as well as thicker cortical bone (p < 0.01), as compared to age-similar females; however, females were found to have less cortical bone porosity as compared to males. Among participants with available F intake estimates (75 to 91% of the 324 with MDCT scans, depending on the period-specific F intake measure), no statistically significant associations were detected between any period-specific or cumulative F intake and bone microstructural outcomes of the tibia at the p < 0.01 level. Only for females, statistically suggestive associations (p < 0.05) were found between recent F intake (from 14-19 years) and trabecular mean plate width and trabecular thickness at the tibia. Those associations became somewhat weaker, but still statistically suggestive, for trabecular thickness in fully adjusted analysis with height, weight, PHV, calcium and protein intake, and HEI-2010 and PAQ-A scores as covariates.
The findings show that the effects of lifelong or period-specific F intake from combined sources for adolescents typical to the United States Midwest region are not strongly associated with bone microstructural outcomes at age 19 years. These findings are generally consistent with previously reported results of IBDS analyses, which further confirms that effects of lifelong or period-specific F intake on skeletons in early adulthood are absent or weak, even at the levels of cortical and trabecular bone microstructural details.
*Original abstract online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S8756328221000442?via%3Dihub
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As demonstrated by the studies below, skeletal fluorosis may produce adverse symptoms, including arthritic pains, clinical osteoarthritis, gastrointestinal disturbances, and bone fragility, before the classic bone change of fluorosis (i.e., osteosclerosis in the spine and pelvis) is detectable by x-ray. Relying on x-rays, therefore, to diagnosis skeletal fluorosis will invariably fail to protect those individuals who are suffering from the pre-skeletal phase of the disease. Moreover, some individuals with clinical skeletal fluorosis will not develop an increase in bone density, let alone osteosclerosis, of the spine. Thus, relying on unusual increases in spinal bone density will under-detect the rate of skeletal fluoride poisoning in a population.
Fluoride & Osteoarthritis
While the osteoarthritic effects that occurred from fluoride exposure were once considered to be limited to those with skeletal fluorosis, recent research shows that fluoride can cause osteoarthritis in the absence of traditionally defined fluorosis. Conventional methods used for detecting skeletal fluorosis, therefore, will fail to detect the full range of people suffering from fluoride-induced osteoarthritis.
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It is a virtual certainty that there are individuals in the general population unknowingly suffering from some form of skeletal fluorosis as a result of a doctor's failure to consider fluoride as a cause of their symptoms. Proof that this is the case can be found in the following case reports of skeletal fluorosis written by doctors in the U.S. and other western countries. As can be seen, a consistent feature of these reports is that fluorosis patients--even those with crippling skeletal fluorosis--are misdiagnosed for years by multiple teams of doctors who routinely fail to consider fluoride as a possible cause of their disease.
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