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Approved Research

Factors Affecting Bone Health: Findings from the UK Biobank Participants

Principal Investigator: Dr Mahdieh Shojaa
Approved Research ID: 84692
Approval date: February 9th 2023

Lay summary

Osteoporosis is an important global public health problem. The prevalence and its consequences (i.e., fragility fractures) is increasing worldwide in parallel with global population aging. It is responsible for excess mortality, morbidity, reduction in quality of life, and chronic pain. The high societal and personal costs of osteoporosis pose challenges to public health and physicians, particularly since most patients with osteoporosis remain untreated.

Bone health is influenced by genetics and can be modified by many factors such as lifestyle and environmental factors. Although these factors are well-established, the interplay between them and bone health could vary from population to population. Furthermore, most studies have been conducted with small sample size and a limited number of lifestyle factors on bone health.

Therefore, this study aims to investigate the relationship between various relevant parameters (lifestyle and environmental factors; socio-demographic, anthropometric (e.g., height, weight) and body composition variables (e.g., fat mass, muscle mass, total body water); reproductive indicators; hand grip strength and stair climbing data; biochemical markers; fall, fracture, and mortality data; autoimmune diseases, cancer, depression, and medications) and bone mineral density (BMD). We will also examine to what extent different parameters affect BMD change, which factors appear to have combined effects on bone density, and how these variables are linked to fall and fracture risks. Our study also aims to identify how bone mineral density among participants changes from baseline to follow-up assessment with the effect of various factors.

This study will utilize dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) dataset across all anatomic sites available from individuals in the UK Biobank from 2014 to 2015 (baseline) and the follow-up assessment approximately five years later (2019-2020) to better understand how BMD varies with different factors. Our study will take two years and is highly associated with the stated purpose of the UK Biobank dataset to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses including osteoporosis, and reduce fall and fracture risks which will decrease societal and personal costs and increase individuals' quality of life.