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Bone Density Test Urged

September 23, 2002|Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Women 65 and older should be regularly screened for osteoporosis by getting bone density tests, a government panel recommended on Tuesday.

The recommendation, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of health experts.

The task force's 1996 report on bone-weakening osteoporosis said there was not enough evidence to say whether routine screening is an effective prevention tool. Since then, additional research has shown there is a benefit, said Janet Allen, task force vice chairwoman.

Low-dose X-rays of the hip to measure bone density generally cost between $125 and $200, according to the task force. Many insurance companies will not pay for the screening, though Medicare will cover the hip test every two years for post-menopausal women if ordered by a doctor. The task force said getting the test every five years is probably adequate for women with normal bone density.

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