Osteoporosis Risk May Be Written In Our Genes, Study
By Juliana Chan | Health & Medicine
April 19, 2012
A major new international study has for the first time shown that the risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture is strongly related to gene variation.
AsianScientist (Apr. 19, 2012) – A large number of genetic variants have for the first time been linked to the risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture, according to a major new international study published in the journal Nature Genetics.
Osteoporosis is a silent but devastating age-related disease that kills half of those who fracture their hip after the age of 80 within 12 months. Women aged over 65 are at greater risk of death after hip fracture than from breast cancer.
In the largest genetic study of osteoporosis to date, investigators from more than 50 research groups across Europe, North America, East Asia, and Australia studied more than 80,000 individuals.
The team found that variants in 56 regions of the genome influenced bone mineral density, while 14 of these variants increased the risk of bone fracture. Bone mineral density is the most widely used measurement to diagnose osteoporosis and assess the risk of fracture, with higher density associated with lower risk of fracture.
“We have found new genes strongly related to bone structure. This latest research has helped pinpoint many factors in critical molecular pathways that may lead to therapeutic treatments,” said co-author Professor Richard Prince, from the University of Western Australia’s Bone and Vascular Research Group.
“This research also leads to better understanding of the biology of skeletal health and fracture susceptibility.”
Researchers also found that women with an excess of bone mineral density-decreasing genetic variants had up to 56 percent higher risk osteoporosis and a 60 percent higher risk of all types of fractures.
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