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Researchers find genetic cause of osteoporosis

Category: Blood and Blood Diseases

Blood testing may soon be able to assess an individual's risk of developing osteoporosis, a serious condition that is often not diagnosed until a person has suffered a broken bone. A team of researchers from the University of Montreal has discovered a single gene that significantly increases the risk of the disease.

Osteoporosis has long been known to have a hereditary component. However, no team of researchers had been able to identify the genes responsible for this family association. The new finding may significantly improve doctors' ability to treat the condition in its early stages and potentially prevent fractures.

"This discovery will help identify individuals with a greater predisposition to the disease who could benefit from preventive measures," said lead researcher Jean Vacher.

A blood test to diagnose osteoporosis risk could represent a major advancement over current procedures. Doctors may be able to notice risk factors like age and poor diet relatively easily, but it takes a more invasive and costly procedure to conclusively diagnose the condition. Experts have called for a simpler test for years.
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