Understanding the Link Between Osteoporosis, Frailty, and Fractures

Overview: To identify modifiable muscle-related factors that could help promote healthy active aging by reducing our risk of becoming frail and fracturing our bones. The Geras Centre for Aging Research participates in the recruitment and management of study participants in the CaMos MQS led jointly by the University Health Network: imaging specialists, epidemiologists, musculoskeletal scientists and physicians address the issue of aging muscles, frailty and how they relate to fractures.

This 8 year longitudinal study has 3 primary objectives: 

  1. To examine how weaker and poorer quality muscle can accelerate the development of frailty
  2. To explore how frailty and falls can be intermediary steps between weaker muscles and fracturing
  3. To understand the mechanisms through which individuals who fracture once, could fracture again

Details of Data Collection:
The study will collect, from 1700 men and women, information about fractures and questions to construct an index of frailty, for each of 8 years. At baseline and at every other year, it will also obtain full body composition scans, CT and MRI scans of the leg. These imaging tools will quantify muscle, bone and fat distribution information. At these same visits, the study will measure muscle strength, power, control and balance using well-established functional tests.

Key Findings to Date: 

  1. Based on preliminary data collected, we identified that muscle has both a direct effect on the risk for fractures and an indirect effect that is mediated by frailty
  2. We also showed in our baseline data that women who are less frail show a direct effect of muscle on fractures; but that those who are frailer exhibit an indirect effect that is really driven by frailty
  3. We further devised methods for quantifying the amount of fat within the leg muscles using MRI and was able to link more muscle-fat to a higher odds for fracturing a bone

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High-Impact Research