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Bone disease study targets island

A large study into the debilitating bone disease osteoporosis is to focus on a remote Scottish island in a bid to provide a breakthrough for sufferers.

Around 2,000 people on the Orkney Isles have volunteered to take part in the scheme, which aims to shed new light on the condition.

If successful, tests could be developed to determine if a person is predisposed to osteoporosis, and new drugs could be created for sufferers.

The £240,000 programme is being conducted by scientists from Edinburgh University, and the Royal Society.

They picked families living on Orkney because its population is isolated, making it easier to identify the lifestyle choices related to osteoporosis, and also genetic factors.

Osteoporosis affects around three million people in Britain and causes bone mass to drop, leading to a greater risk of fractures around the wrist, hip and spine areas.

Dr Jim Wilson, from the Royal Society's genetics unit, said: "We're aiming to try to understand the lifestyle factors that lead to the disease, but also, more importantly, the genetic factors.

"I think this study is one of the best chances yet, actually to make a breakthrough in understanding the root causes of osteoporosis."

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"Great idea, especialy as it targets the whole family. So much emphasis is around menopausal women, when children and men can learn as much from the facts and data available. I currently include bone health diet and exercise in my young persons clinic hoping that the message of bone health starts in childhood" - Julie Phipps, practice nurse, Gloucestershire

Edinburgh University

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