25.01.2018 change 25.01.2018

Silesian scientists have developed a risk calculator for fractures in osteoporosis

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Poland's first algorithm for assessing the risk of fractures associated with the development of osteoporosis has been developed by scientists from the Medical University of Silesia in Katowice and the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice.

This is the result of several years of research conducted on a group of women over 55 from poviat Racibórz.

"We now know how to treat osteoporosis fairly successfully. However, finding a way to detect the disease process early would be a breakthrough. It would help protect patients against the effects of the disease, namely fractures. This is the goal of our study" - says Prof. Wojciech Pluskiewicz, originator of the algorithm, head of Metabolic Bone Diseases in the Department of Internal Diseases, Diabetology and Nephrology of the Medical University of Silesia.

The observation began in 2010. A group of scientists led by Prof. Pluskiewicz thoroughly examined a population of nearly one thousand women over 55. For each patient, scientists collected over 200 pieces of data on clinical risk factors for osteoporosis. Then, every year they collected information about the occurrence of new fractures in a telephone survey. Over the course of 5 years, 92 such cases were recorded in 78 subjects. The data from these observations were used to create a fracture risk calculator.

The algorithm has been developed by Dr. Aleksandra Werner and Dr. Małgorzata Bach from the Silesian University of Technology. "The greatest difficulty was the large number of collected parameters describing each subject" - says Dr. Aleksandra Werner.

"We used advanced methods of selecting traits to ultimately select the five most important parameters out of more than 200. Research indicated that fracture risk increased due to previous falls and fractures, the use of glucocorticosteroids, and low bone mineral density within the femur neck. The patient's height was also important. On this basis, we have created a mathematical model that facilitates forecasting the risk of fracture in the perspective of 5 years" - she explains.

The algorithm will be useful in daily medical practice, as a guide in further therapeutic treatment. The algorithm can also be used by women at or over 55 - the group most exposed to osteoporosis.

Prof. Pluskiewicz reminds that osteoporosis is becoming a civilization disease. "According to our research, it affects every tenth Polish woman over 55. It is usually asymptomatic, hence the term +silent bone thief+" - he said.

The first sign of the disease is very often a fracture, which, however, indicates its significant advancement. Therefore, postmenopausal women should undergo bone density testing regularly.

"Now, thanks to the calculator we have developed, the result will allow every woman to independently check the percentage risk of fractures and see a specialist if necessary" - says Prof. Pluskiewicz.

PAP - Science in Poland, Anna Gumułka

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