The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Withdrawn. Investigating the relationship between diabetes mellitus and bone mineral denisty


Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoville

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Clinical studies have revealed a type-specific relationship between diabetes mellitus and bone. Individuals suffering from type 1 diabetes generally demonstrate lower bone mineral density (BMD), while type 2 diabetic patients show increased BMD values, particularly in the proximal femur and vertebrae. This is usually attributed to the greater mechanical loading imposed by overweight and obesity, common co-morbidity factors for type 2 diabetes. Conversely, both forms of diabetes show increased risk of fractures, suggesting that the additional bone deposition in type 2 diabetic individuals may not be biomechanically advantageous.

The purpose of this study was to investigate bone mineral density between diabetics and non-diabetics, at three disparately loaded skeletal sites: femur, tibia, and forearm. The Bass Donated Skeletal Collection was utilized to construct a sample of 80 individuals (40 diagnosed type 2 diabetics and 40 individuals without diabetic medical history). Samples were pair-matched on sex, age, and weight-at-death. Average diabetic weight was slightly heavier; however this difference was not statistically significant. It was hypothesized that the diabetic sample would demonstrate considerably elevated BMD values.

Results generally supported the hypothesis. The diabetic sample possessed higher mean BMD values at all skeletal sites, though not significantly greater (p≤0.05). When separated by sex, ANOVA revealed that only females demonstrated significant differences between sample-groups. Diabetic females showed higher BMD for six variables in the femur, two sites on the tibia, and two in the forearm. Males did not replicate this pattern. Results corroborate clinical observations, suggesting diabetic females are protected from osteoporosis and major fracture.

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