Study Finds Gene Combinations Related to Hip Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women

Women with osteoporosis in their hip suffer menopause 2 years earlier than healthy women, according to a study conducted at the University of Granada. Additionally, although further study is required, researchers have found at least three genetic markers associated with osteoporosis in the hip in postmenopausal women, according to a press release.

Osteoporosis in the hip increases the risk of suffering fractures, which is extremely disabling for the patient, and represents a high cost for the health public system. The aim of this research study, developed at the University of Granada, was to understand the factors that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. As a starting point, researchers took the relevance of genes in this disease, since 80% of bone formation is genetically determined.

For the purpose of this study, authors conducted a multi-center study involving five Spanish clinics and a sample of 2,000 patients from the gynecology services of those participating clinics. Researchers looked at detailed medical records for each patient, including those risk factors known to intervene in osteoporosis of the hip, as well as other factors that still have not been proved to intervene in osteoporosis, like the Mediterranean diet. They made blood collections to analyze genetic markers, and completed a densitometry to study bone mineral density in the spine and hip.

This study was developed by Jesús Carlos Presa Lorite at the University of Granada’s department of obstetrics and conducted by professors Nicolás Mendoza Ladrón de Guevara, Ángel Alejandro Santalla Hernández and Alberto Salamanca Ballesteros. Scientists set out to further understand the process of this complex and multifactor condition, studying how genetics affect the development of this condition and further analyzing which genes are the most determinant.

Results suggested that certain gene combinations may increase the risk of suffering osteoporosis. However, “these results should be considered cautiously,” Lorite stated in the release. “Maybe, in the short-term, a genetic study of patients could be made, to inform them when they are found to be prone to suffer a hip fracture, and to recommend them to follow some specific treatment.”

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