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Spine Feature

Source: Wikimedia Commons and Arnold Gatilao

Back Injuries in Females Linked to Poor Diet

Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed. • Tue, February 13th, 2018

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A study set to be published in the February 2018 edition of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (“Dietary Advanced Glycation End Products Have Sex- and Age-Dependent Effects on Vertebral Bone Microstructure and Mechanical Function in Mice”) has found a possible connection between back injuries and diet. Bottom line? Another reason to avoid fast foods.

According to the January 31, 2018 news release, “Scientists from the Leni & Peter W. May Department of Orthopaedics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai examined the effect of a diet high in advanced glycation end products (AGEs) on the spine, something that has never been done before.”

“AGEs are compounds commonly found in the so-called ‘Western diet’ (heat-processed, pasteurized, dried, smoked, or fried foods), and they have been linked to weight gain and diabetes…”

Svenja Illien-Jünger, Ph.D. assistant professor of orthopaedics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and co-author on the study, told OTW, “Diabetes is a known risk factor for back pain related to the spine and in our lab we asked exactly how diabetes could cause spinal problems.”

“Since diabetes is often associated with poor diets that contains high amounts of advanced glycation end products (e.g., fast food), we investigated if poor diet high in advanced glycation end products could also be associated with spinal problems.”

“We are the first group that investigated if poor diet would affect female and male mice differently. For this study we used ‘young’ and ‘old’ mice, which were equivalent to 30 and 60 year old humans. Mice were fed a diet that simulated a typical fast-food diet. Besides feeding the mice ‘fast-food’ we did not do any experiments on them.”

“The most important result was that young female mice were particularly affected by the food quality. Our tests showed that the spinal bone quality was reduced and that young female mice were at greater risk for fractures, while male mice were not as affected. Interestingly, we did not observe dietary effects on vertebral quality in older mice.”

“Our results suggest that poor diet could potentially cause increased spinal pathologies. We recommend that young women, especially if they are diabetic, should be aware of their diet.”

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