It's too early for a gene test to gauge osteoporosis risk, but researchers are working toward that goal.
The new clues about the genetics of osteoporosis come from two new studies, which together included more than 18,500 British, European, and Australian adults of European descent.
Seven gene variants stood out.
One study, published in The Lancet's advance online edition, notes two variants linked to increased risk of osteoporosis and osteoporosis-related bone fractures.
The other study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine's advance online edition, identifies five other genetic variants associated with bone mineral density. In osteoporosis, bone mineral density is dangerously low, making bones vulnerable to fracture.
Those discoveries may be just the tip of the iceberg.
In both studies, the gene variants only accounted for a small portion of the variation among participants. Other genes probably also affect osteoporosis risk and bone mineral density, note the researchers; editorialists who reviewed their work agree.
Further research is also needed to hunt for osteoporosis gene patterns in people of other ethnic backgrounds.
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