Chronic alcohol abuse and changes in bone - An autopsy study

By Karoline Meldgaard


This Ph.D. thesis is based on studies conducted at the Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Aarhus, under the leadership of Professor,, Markil Gregersen, M.D., where I for several years during the nineties had beguiling employment as physician and research fellow; and I was during the entire period supported with privileged working conditions. The Department of Pathology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus Amtssygehus provides excellent laboratory facilities and expertise, which enabled me to get the bone material prepared in the best way possible. My mentor,, Annie Vesterby, M.D., introduced me to bone research and histomorphometry, and her great knowledge, encouragement, perseverance and humane attitude guided me through this scientific research. My mentor, Professor,, Flemming Melsen, M.D., trained me in the fine art of scientific deduction, and concurrently was an inexhaustible source of inspiration, knowledge and optimism. I am grateful to them both.

I want to thank, Anders Odgård, M.D., for introducing me to biomechanics and kindly helping me in the execution of the compression study. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Dorte Qvesel, M.D., who, with admirable drive, performed the density scans on the material. When I was in urgent need of experienced help, Hans Oxlund, M.D., with short notice and without hesitation ashed the bone specimens.,Torben Steiniche, M.D., has in his kind and obliging way been a great help as consultant on bone histomorphometry. In addition both he, and my Italian colleague, Franscesca Zucchi, M.D., with whom I spent some profitable time, socially as well as professionally, contributed to the study by performing some of the time-consuming histomorphometric counting work. If not for laboratory technician, Rita Ullerup, the entire counting work would have been much more laborious, but her skilful technical assistance in preparation of the bone material provided first-class sections. A special thank goes to the staff at the Department of Forensic Medicine - for friendship and back-up, and for assistance during collection of the bone material. Many other persons, as well, have been supportive during the fulfilment of this work, either through fruitful discussions or by just lending a willing ear when needed. Finally, I want to express my deepest gratitude to my husband, Keld, who, when time was short, enthusiastically helped me out by filling the parts as severely tried secretary, computer adviser and wholehearted supporter. Without that, I would not have succeeded. The work was supported financially by The Ministry of Health's Funds for Alcoholresearch.