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Approved research

Project title: Broken bones and broken hearts: relationships between osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease in the UK Biobank population

Principal Investigator: Professor Steffen Petersen
Approved Research ID: 45956
Approval date: August 30th 2019

Lay summary

Osteoporosis is a common condition of older age characterised by the development of thin and brittle bones that may break more easily. Coronary artery disease (CAD) or narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle, is the most important cause of long term illness and death in the developed world. Both osteoporosis and CAD are known to be more common in older individuals, smokers and individuals with a sedentary lifestyle. Studies have shown that individuals with osteoporosis are more likely to have CAD and vice versa. There have also been studies that have suggested a common mechanism leading to development of both conditions. The studies that are currently available involve small patient numbers, lack detailed imaging tests, blood tests, and case descriptions. UK Biobank has data available for over half a million individuals, making it the largest research database ever compiled. There is very detailed information available characterising each individual, including information about past history of osteoporosis, CAD, and their related illnesses. Also available is detailed blood work and bone and cardiac imaging. Careful analysis of the UK Biobank population will allow us to conduct a detailed study of the relationship between osteoporosis and CAD, looking at the links between the two conditions as well as possible underlying mechanisms. Both osteoporosis and CAD represent huge disease burdens to society; increasing our understanding of their relationship has the potential to improve population health on a mass scale.