Researchers discover way to predict hip fractures in women

August 14, 2014

Topic: fragility fractures

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati have discovered that postmenopausal women with oxidative stress are more likely to sustain a hip fracture.

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati have discovered that postmenopausal women with oxidative stress are more likely to sustain a hip fracture. The findings were published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

The epidemiologists worked with researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health. The researchers stated that their discoveries are the first of their kind to correlate hip fractures and oxidative stress in postmenopausal women.

Getting to know oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is physiological stress on the body that is caused by free radicals. Free radicals can often be neutralized by antioxidants. The radicals are known for inflicting harm on various organs in the body after interacting with other substances. The researchers noted that oxidative stress is a natural occurrence and cannot be prevented. However, certain environmental factors can increase the amount of free radicals that women interact with, including tobacco, types of radiation and atmospheric toxins.

The researchers studied oxidative stress by measuring the amount of fluorescent oxidation products in women's blood plasma. These products are a mixture of lipids, proteins and DNA. Scientists can measure them using a fluorescent spectrophotometer.

The participants were from the Nurses' Health Study, a study group that began in 1976 and periodically fills out surveys and submits samples. The researchers studied 996 nurses who were 60 or older who submitted blood samples between 1989 and 1990. The study authors measured the fluorescent oxidation products at three different emission wavelengths. Each of the wavelengths has its own role. The first, named FIOP_360, is created by lipid oxidation products' interactions with proteins. The second, FIOP_320, is derived from oxidation products like ketones interacting with DNA while metals are present. The last, FIOP_400, displays the reaction between proteins, phospholipids and a specific marker for lipid oxidation.

The group's findings
The researchers discovered that FIOP_320 could predict the risks for hip fractures in women. The data revealed that women in the upper 30 percent of the FIOP_320 findings had a 2.67 times higher risk of hip fractures than women who were in the bottom 30 percent. This particular free radical is created in the presence of metals. Scientists believe the findings suggest the presence of reactive oxygen particles and heavy metals together in the air.

Like many fragility fractures, hip fractures are incredibly costly and increase women's risks for disability and other chronic conditions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that by 2030, the number of hip fractures in the United States is estimated to reach 289,000.

Research often correlates risk factors such as osteoporosis to sustaining a hip fracture, but the study authors noted the importance of considering the risks associated with FIOP_320 in the future.  

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