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Heavy Coffee Consumption Doesn't Increase Risk of Broken Bones

Results of study into effect of caffeine on calcified tissue presented at the ECTS Annual Congress 2012, Stockholm, Sweden, 19-23 May

May 21, 2012, Stockholm, Sweden. Press Dispensary. According to recent findings, high consumption of coffee and/or caffeine does not lead to increased risk of broken bones, as had previously been suggested by the medical profession. A research project entitled 'Coffee Consumption in Relation to Osteoporotic Fracture Risk and Bone Mineral Density: a Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Study', shows that drinking  four cups of coffee or more a day makes little difference to bone mineral density (BMD) in middle-aged and older women, with no evidence that this, in turn, increases the risk of fractures or osteoporosis.

The results of the project were revealed in Stockholm today at the 'ECTS Annual Congress 2012', organised by the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS).

In the study*, 61,433 women born between 1914 and 1948 were followed up for 19 years, being measured for the occurrence of bone fractures of any type, and - specifically - for hip fractures (identified from registry data). Of these, 5,022 women were measured for incidence of osteoporosis, diagnosed by dual energy X ray absorptiometry. Diet was assessed using repeated food frequency questionnaires.

During follow-up, 14,738 women (24%) experienced a first fracture of any type and, among these, 3,871 (6%) experienced a first hip fracture. Of the 5,022 women measured for osteoporosis, 1,012 (20%) were diagnosed as osteoporotic. But after multivariable adjustment, the team found no evidence of higher rates of hip fracture (HR 0.97; 95% CI 0.95-1.00 per 200 ml coffee) or any fracture (HR 0.99; 95% CI 0.98-1.00 per 200 ml coffee), to accompany increasing coffee consumption. Compared to women consuming less than one cup of coffee daily, those who drank  four cups or more a day had a HR of 0.88 (95% CI 0.78-1.00) for hip fracture and a HR of 0.96 (95% CI 0.90-1.02) for any type of fracture.

Women who consumed four cups or more, compared to those who consumed less than one cup per day, however, had 2-4% (p<0.001) lower bone mineral density (BMD) at the proximal femur (difference 0.022 g/cm2; 95% CI 0.021-0.023), at the lumbar spine (difference 0.048 g/cm2; 95% CI 0.047-0.050) and of the total body (difference 0.018 g/cm2; 95% CI 0.017-0.019). The odds ratio of osteoporosis was 1.28 (95% CI 0.88-1.87) with a high consumption (four cups or more daily), compared to a low consumption (less than one cup daily).

Helena Hallström of the Risk and Benefit Assessment Department, National Food Agency and Department of Surgical Sciences, Section of Orthopedics, Uppsala University, comments:
"We found that there is an association between a high intake of coffee and having a  slightly lower bone mineral density, which fits some earlier studies and may be biologically  plausible. However, the difference in bone mineral density was modest and though the study was very large, we saw no evidence that it led to an increased risk of fractures or osteoporosis.

"To sum up, drinking lots of coffee does not mean there's a higher risk of bone fractures or osteoporosis in middle aged and older women."

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Notes for editors
Webcasts and a photo gallery of the congress are available on the ECTS website:-

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About the study
* The study was conducted in Sweden using a longitudinal, prospective population-based cohort, the Swedish Mammography Cohort (SMC), and a sub cohort, the Swedish Mammography Cohort Clinical (SMCC).

It was conducted by H. Hallström, A. Wolk, A. Glynn, E. Warensjö, L. Byberg and K. Michaëlsson, representing the Risk and Benefit Assessment Department, National Food Agency; Department of Surgical Sciences, Section of Orthopedics, Uppsala University, Uppsala; National Institute of Experimental Medicine, Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm; and Science Department, National Food Agency, Uppsala, Sweden

About the Congress
Taking place in Stockholm on 19-23 May, 2012, the 39th ECTS Annual Congress 2012 is Europe's key annual bone science event. The programme includes: symposium workshops covering bone biology and clinical research; results of the latest scientific research; clinical update sessions and a session dedicated to new investigators in the field.

About the ECTS
The European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) is the major organisation in Europe for researchers and clinicians working in the field of calcified tissues and related fields. ECTS acts as a forum for the dissemination of high quality research through its annual meeting, the European Symposium on Calcified Tissues, and through training courses and workshops.

Calcified tissues are central to a healthy skeleton and to bone disorders - such as osteoporosis, back pain and fractures - that make life a misery for countless people. Children can inherit some forms of bone diseases causing bone pain, shortness and deformed limbs.

ECTS 2013, celebrating the society's 50th year, will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, on 18-21 May 2013

For further information, please contact:
Roberta Mugnai, ECTS executive director
European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS)
Tel: + 32 476 520 716

Conference site:

Media contacts

Roberta Mugnai, ECTS executive director
Tel: + 32 476 520 716

Conference site:

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