A new genetic screen may predict the risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture, according to a researcher at Stanford University School of Medicine in California.
The study identified 899 regions in the human genome associated with low bone-mineral density—613 of which have never before been identified. People at high risk (about 2% of those tested) were about 17 times more likely than others to develop osteoporosis and about twice as likely to experience a bone fracture in their lifetimes.
“There are lots of ways to reduce the risk of a stress fracture, including vitamin D, calcium, and weight-bearing exercise,” said Stuart Kim, PhD, an emeritus professor of developmental biology at Stanford, who conducted the study. “But currently there is no protocol to predict in one’s 20s or 30s who is likely to be at higher risk, and who should pursue these interventions before any sign of bone weakening. A test like this could be an important clinical tool.”
Kim is the sole author of the study, which was published online July 26 in PLOS ONE.
Low bone mineral density as predictor
Kim originally approached his investigation as a way to help elite athletes or members of the military learn whether they are at risk for bone injury during strenuous training. Once he had compiled the results, however, he saw a strong correlation between people predicted to have the highest risk of low bone mineral density and the development of osteoporosis and fracture.
Two previous studies have demonstrated a genetic component to osteoporosis. Recently, genetic studies on large groups of individuals have shown that hundreds of genes are likely involved.
Please click below for more details about the findings.
Source: Conger K. Osteoporosis, fracture risk predicted with genetic screen [press release]. Stanford, CA: Stanford Medicine; July 26, 2018.