Research uncovers 20 genes that increase osteoporosis risk
The immediate cause of osteoporosis may be vitamin D deficiency, but the often-crippling condition tends to run in families, and researchers have been working for many years to pinpoint the exact genetic basis for the disease.
This effort may be paying off as a recent article in the journal Nature Genetics
reported that an international research team isolated 20 genes linked to bone weakness or demineralization, and 13 of those genes were associated with osteoporosis for the first time. The discovery was made based on data analysis from nearly 20,000 individuals in five different genetic studies.
In order to better treat any condition, we need to know what causes it, said one of the authors, Dr J. Brent Richards of the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.
This study affords us the opportunity to [learn] the genetic mechanisms which control bone strength, and to intervene to prevent peoples' bones from getting weak, he added.
The scientists further suggested that finding more genes that affect osteoporosis risk, may help public health officials identify endangered populations ahead of time and target them with preventative treatments.