Research updates
Osteoporosis   p 1
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1. Introduction Link to the Medical Research Council web site
In the UK osteoporosis results in over 200,000 fractures each year. It causes severe pain and disability to individual patients at an annual cost of over £1.7 billion to the National Health Service. More than one-third of adult women will sustain one or more osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime. The lifetime risk among men is less but still substantial.
EEU at Southampton
Figure 1. The Environmental Epidemiology Unit at Southampton.
The unit is closely associated with the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Southampton and is housed in its own building in the grounds of Southampton General Hospital.

This update was writeen by Janet Taylor. We would like to thank Professor Cooper and Dr. Javaid for their help, expertise and resources that have allowed us to produce this electronic resource.
Research focus
Studies at the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit have documented that growth in utero and during early childhood are determinants of
  • bone mass in late adulthood
  • the risk of hip fracture.

These studies point to important environmental factors, such as maternal smoking and fat stores, which influence skeletal growth in utero. It is therefore important to consider preventative measures throughout life.

Improving healthcare

The research will improve healthcare by leading to:

  • novel preventative strategies whereby the nutrition, body build and lifestyle of mothers might be modified in order to enhance skeletal development and reduce the risk of fractures in later life;
  • national guidelines for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Prof Cooper Figure 2. Professor Cyrus Cooper heads research into osteoporosis at the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit at Southampton.

A major focus of the research programme is to investigate the links between the risk of developing osteoporosis in later adult life and environmental influences, such as diet and exercise, during intrauterine and early post-natal life and in childhood.

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