CANBERRA (Dispatches) -- Scientists at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have developed a computational model to calculate ‘skeletal age’, a personalised estimate of an individual’s risk of bone fracture and premature death.
To develop their sophisticated computational model, the team led by Professor Nguyen used data from Garvan’s Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study, which was started in 1989 and is the world’s longest-running large-scale study of osteoporosis in men and women.
Their model incorporates an individual’s age, bone density, history of previous fractures and other health conditions to calculate a personalised estimate of ‘skeletal age’.
From age 50, bone fractures affect one in two women and one in three men. For women, the lifetime risk of a hip fracture is equal to or higher than the risk of developing an invasive breast cancer.
With each fracture, the risk of future fracture increases two-fold and studies have shown that pre-existing fractures increase the risk of premature death by about 50% in both men and women. One in three adults over 50 dies within 12 months of sustaining a hip fracture.
The team is now developing an online calculator, which doctors will be able to use to calculate their patients’ skeletal age.