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Approved Research

Genome-wide association study of bone-specific structural phenotypes

Principal Investigator: Mr Tore Eriksson
Approved Research ID: 74307
Approval date: December 14th 2021

Lay summary

The bones in your body are, like most other tissues, constantly renewed. Old bone is removed and new bone is added in its place. However, as you get older this process tends to get unbalanced and bone is removed faster than it is added. In some people, this will eventually lead to brittle bones and a higher risk of fractures, so called "osteoporosis". How fast your bones will weaken depends on a lot of things. Some are due to what you eat, how much you exercise, and medications. Other factors you are born with - your sex and the genes you have inherited from your parents. Our research is focused on the latter. By looking at how bone differs between participants in the UK Biobank and comparing these differences to the genetic data that you have contributed, we hope to learn more about how and why bones grow weaker with age. We are especially interested in using the bone density test data. These are detailed X-ray images of your body that are used to measure the amount of mineral contained in your bones. However, summarising the information found in the image into a few numbers loses a lot of information. Working with these images directly, we will try to measure things that are not easily discovered using normal methods. By comparing these measurements to the genetic data, we should be able to improve our understanding of how our bones work and this could help us to find new ways to treat and prevent osteoporosis in the future.