Owen W Tomlinson 1, Dimitris Vlachopoulos 2
Background: Recent research has proposed an association between desaturation during a six minute walking test (6MWT) and osteoporosis in an elderly group of individuals with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. A causative pathway through activation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1α) has been proposed.
Commentary: Queries regarding the statistical approaches used are identified and discussed within this correspondence. These predominate around the use of linear regression models to predict osteoporosis in a group that is already osteoporotic, presenting with extreme values for bone mineral density (BMD). Further queries are raised regarding the HIF-1α pathway, and physical activity (PA) is proposed as an upstream mechanism for both reduced exercise tolerance and low BMD.
Conclusions: It is suggested that osteoporosis cannot be predicted in a group that is already osteoporotic, and that PA is likely to be the causative mechanism between desaturation in the 6MWT and low BMD in non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis.