Bone density, vitamin D nutrition, and parathyroid hormone levels in women with dementia

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1995 Oct;43(10):1088-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1995.tb07005.x.


Objective: To determine whether patients with dementia have reduced bone mass, altered vitamin D, or parathyroid hormone status.

Design: Survey.

Setting: University hospital outpatient department.

Participants: Twenty women with DSM-III-R mild dementia living in the community were compared with 40 cognitively normal community-dwelling women, matched for age, who had been recruited as part of studies in elderly twins.

Measurements: Bone density at the lumbar spine and neck of femur by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, intact serum PTH, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.

Main results: There was no significant difference in bone density between the subjects with mild dementia and the age- and sex-matched controls. The intact PTH (mean +/- SD) in the demented subjects was 4.9 +/- 2.1 pmol/L compared with 2.9 +/- 1.7 pmol/L in the twin controls (P < .01). The mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the demented subjects was 61 +/- 33 nmol/L, whereas it was 90 +/- 38 nmol/L in the twin controls (P < .01).

Conclusions: We conclude that there were no significant differences in the bone density of community-dwelling women with mild dementia compared with normals. However, there were significant differences in parathyroid hormone and vitamin D levels between the two groups, suggesting that there is a high prevalence of subclinical hypovitaminosis D in demented women in the community.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Bone Density*
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dementia / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / blood*
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / deficiency
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / blood
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / etiology*
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood*
  • Prevalence
  • Radionuclide Imaging


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols
  • Parathyroid Hormone