Project: Research project

Project Details


Osteoporosis is an enormous public health problem causing at least 1.3
million fractures and costing up to $10 billion in the United States each
year. Our specific aims attempt to fill gaps in knowledge that impede the
design and implementation of an effective control program. 1) The age-
stratified, random sample of 262 Rochester, MN women who have been followed
for up to 8 yrs with serial measurements of bone mineral density (BMD) and
having had extensive baseline studies fare a unique resource. To obtain
long-term data on the patterns and causes of bone loss and fractures, we
will extend their followup to 12 yrs. 2) Novel biochemical indices of bone
turnover and new technologies for measurement of BMD have been developed
that should greatly enhance the definition of fracture risk. To exploit
these and evaluate their prognostic value and to develop and test models
for describing bone loss and fractures in the population, we will enroll
and follow prospectively a new random sample of Rochester women. 3)
Although they account for a substantial proportion of age-related
fractures, there have been no systematic studies on the causes of bone loss
and fractures in men. Thus, we will enroll and follow prospectively a
random sample of Rochester men to obtain this information and will compare
and contrast results with those in women. 4) Bone mass is known to have
strong hereditary component. We will search for genetic markers that
might be used to predict future risk for osteoporosis by analyzing
leucocyte DNA for restriction fragment length polymorphisms and skin
fibroblasts for mutations in one of the genes for type 1 procollagen. 5)
Although estrogen replacement therapy (ERT), begun at menopause, is the
most effective way to prevent osteoporosis in women, it is not known
whether it must be continued indefinitely for long-term benefit. We will
attempt to resolve this important question by comparing values for BMD in a
cohort of oophorectomized Rochester women, of whom some, but not others,
received ERT for variable intervals. In all of these studies, we will
continue to rely heavily on the Rochester Epidemiology Project, a unique
resource for making population-based epidemiologic studies. We will employ
state-of-the-art methods using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry to assess
bone loss (including scans of the total and regional skeleton and lateral
scans of the vertebrae) and to estimate lean body mass (for studying the
relationship between muscle mass and bone mass), new biochemical markers
(for assessing bone turnover), and molecular biology techniques (for
assessing genetic predisposition to osteoporosis). This research will
allow us to identify and quantify the determinants of bone loss and
fractures in the general population so as to recognize better those
individuals at risk for osteoporosis, who could then be targeted for
preventive intervention.
Effective start/end date6/1/805/31/21


  • Medicine(all)