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Research Study

Location: New York, NY 10032
Posted: Mon. Aug 21
My name is Dr. Marcella Walker, and I am a metabolic bone specialist at Columbia University Irving
Medical Center. I am writing to tell you about a new NIH-funded research study (1R01AR080106) that I am conducting with Dr. David Hellerstein in Psychiatry that may be of interest to your patients. The goal of the study is to learn more about how depression and its treatment affect musculoskeletal health. As many as 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 will have a bone fracture due to osteoporosis.
Some studies suggest that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medicines (SSRIs) may increase the risk of fracture further. Whether this occurs, and if so, why, have not been clearly established. The purpose of this study is to compare changes in musculoskeletal health in postmenopausal women who are receiving treatment for depression with either SSRIs, SNRIs or psychotherapy. Eligible participants who enroll will be evaluated in the outpatient Metabolic Bone Disease Unit on Harkness 9 at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (180 Fort Washington Avenue) four times over the course of 18 months, with dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans. DXA is the gold standard method for evaluating risk of bone fracture. Participants also receive repeated spine films, tests of muscle function and other non-invasive testing of skeletal health. Participants will receive the results of their bone testing as well as compensation (up to $1125 for full participation).

There is no treatment for depression in this study and participants follow their treatment course for depression as provided by you. Ultimately, we aim to improve the screening and treatment of osteoporosis in women being treated for depression, whether with medication or psychotherapy. We would be grateful if you would place flyers or brochures in your waiting areas. If you have patients you think might be interested in joining this study or they have any questions, please have them contact our study team by telephone at 212-305-7225 or by email at Alternatively, if the patient provides permission, feel free to send us their contact information. You can read more about this study at

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Marcella Walker, MD
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