New research shows early bone growth linked to bone density in later life

February 2, 2012

Researchers from the University of Southampton, in collaboration with a research group in Delhi, India, have shown that growth in early childhood can affect bone density in adult life, which could lead to an increased risk of developing bone diseases like osteoporosis.

The study, led by Professor Caroline Fall of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton, is part of the University's ongoing work in assessing the causes of at different stages of life from before conception through to old age, and the ways in which environmental influences affect to produce disease.

Over the past 10 years Professor Fall and the Delhi team have been studying the relationship between height and (BMI) during childhood and adult outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and now (BMC) and .

The study, which is published online in Osteoporosis International and was funded by the British Heart Foundation, relates measurements of and density at the lumbar spine, femoral neck and forearm to birth size and childhood weight and height growth among 565 men and women from the New Delhi .

The results showed that size at birth and height growth during early childhood contribute significantly to adult bone mass, while BMI in later childhood was positively related to adult bone density. These findings suggest that nutrition in childhood is an important determinant of adult bone health and in the prevention of developing bone disease like Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis causes some of the struts within the bone to become thin making it more fragile and prone to break even after a minor bump or fall. Half of women and one in five men over the age of 50 will break a bone mainly because of Osteoporosis.

Professor Fall says: "The risk of osteoporotic fracture depends on two factors: the mechanical strength of bone and the forces applied to it. We know that bone mass is an established determinant of bone strength and adult bone mass depends upon the peak attained during skeletal growth and the subsequent rate of bone loss. Peak bone mass is partly inherited, but environmental and lifestyle factors do play a part too. If we can improve childhood nutrition and that of the mother while pregnant, the risk of disease in later life can be reduced."

Professor Cyrus Cooper, Director of the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton, adds: "This study emphasises the huge benefits of studying cohorts in both developed and developing populations, which permit the opportunity to explore the early origins of common chronic disorders such as osteoporosis."

More information: To view the study please visit www.springerlink.com/content/7440qu46p4322016/

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.