Osteoporosis Linked to Bone Gene

Medical Author: Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editor: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.

Nov. 3, 2003 -- The most significant known genetic risk factor for osteoporosis was reported today. This risk factor is on chromosome 20. It is the gene for bone morphogenic protein 2 which is called BMP2.

Osteoporosis is a common condition characterized by abnormally low BMD (bone mineral density). It sets the stage for fractures of the hip, spine, and other bones. In the US alone there are a million osteoporotic fractures a year with direct medical costs over $10 billion. X-ray tests that measure bone density can detect osteoporosis . The research fingering BMP2 was done in Iceland which has unique population resources and is proving to be a rich hunting ground for genes that predispose to common diseases.

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