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Approved research

Fracture risk in the Million Women Study cohort: application for baseline information from UK Biobank for women participating in both studies.

Principal Investigator: Dr Jane Green
Approved Research ID: 25930
Approval date: April 1st 2019

Lay summary

We propose to use UK Biobank Bone Mineral Density measurements to supplement data collected in the Million Women Study, another large UK health study. Bone mineral density (BMD), a measure of bone strength, is an important factor in fracture risk. The Million Women Study has no direct measures of BMD, though many women in the study have reported their experience of bone density scans. UK Biobank participants, on the other hand, had BMD measured at their baseline visit (and some also at follow-up visits). Some 30,000 women in the Million Women Study who have reported on whether or not they had a bone scan, and its result, are also participants in UK Biobank. In these women, we plan to compare information held by the two studies, to improve Million Women Study fracture analyses. Run by researchers from the University of Oxford, the Million Women Study has been following the health of over 1.3 million UK women for 20 years. Among other conditions, we are studying modifiable risk factors such as exercise and obesity in relation to the risk of bone fractures, a common problem in older women. This work, funded by MRC and Cancer Research UK, is directly health-related and has already yielded interesting results on differences in risk factors for fractures at different sites. Adding UK Biobank BMD data would allow us to improve the reliability of our results. To do this, we are applying to UK Biobank for limited data linkage between the two studies. The Million Women Study has obtained ethical approval for the proposed linkage, which would be carried out by UKBiobank. Strict data protection controls will be applied and our comparisons will use a dataset with identifying information removed. Comparison of UK Biobank BMD measures with self-reported Million Women Study information for linked women will help us better interpret self-reported data for all women in the Million Women Study. Results of the data comparison will be returned to UK Biobank for use by other researchers.