Impaired Vestibular Function and Low Bone Mineral Density: Data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging

Robin T. Bigelow, Yevgeniy R. Semenov, Eric Anson, Sascha du Lac, Luigi Ferrucci, Yuri Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Animal studies have demonstrated that experimentally induced vestibular ablation leads to a decrease in bone mineral density, through mechanisms mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. Loss of bone mineral density is a common and potentially morbid condition that occurs with aging, and we sought to investigate whether vestibular loss is associated with low bone mineral density in older adults. We evaluated this question in a cross-sectional analysis of data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), a large, prospective cohort study managed by the National Institute on Aging (N = 389). Vestibular function was assessed with cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (cVEMPs), a measure of saccular function. Bone mineral density was assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). In two-way t test analysis, we observed that individuals with reduced vestibular physiologic function had significantly lower bone mineral density. In adjusted multivariate linear regression analyses, we observed that older individuals with reduced vestibular physiologic function had significantly lower bone mineral density, specifically in weight-bearing hip and lower extremity bones. These results suggest that the vestibular system may contribute to bone homeostasis in older adults, notably of the weight-bearing hip bones at greatest risk of osteoporotic fracture. Further longitudinal analysis of vestibular function and bone mineral density in humans is needed to characterize this relationship and investigate the potential confounding effect of physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-440
Number of pages8
JournalJARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Keywords

  • aging
  • bone mineral density
  • osteoporosis
  • vestibular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems

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