Researchers thank Dubbo community in NSW


The Garvan Institute of Medical Research hosted a special event in Dubbo NSW on the 31 October to thank the community for their long running involvement in a pivotal osteoporosis study.

The Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study was commenced over 30 years ago and became the longest running study of osteoporosis in women and men in the world. 

Over 4,000 members of the community participated in the study which has provided broad benefit to the area of osteoporosis research.

The study was founded by Prof John Eisman and Prof Tuan Van Nguyen with early involvement from Prof Graeme Jones and then joint Principal Investigator, along with founders, being Prof Jacqueline Center. Approx 20 Garvan researches have worked on the study.  

Professor Jackie Center from Garvan presented on behalf of Healthy Bones Australia at the event explaining how outcomes of the study directly helped Healthy Bones Australia develop the Know Your Bones online self-assessment which has been widely promoted and used across Australia.

Healthy Bones Australia recently released the third edition Community Risk Report at Parliament House Canberra on 19 October presenting data from Know Your Bones program which shows gaps in osteoporosis care and opportunities for improved osteoporosis diagnosis and management. Know Your Bones is an important online tool for consumers and example of a ‘translational research project’ based on outcomes from the Dubbo study. 

Prof Center said “The Dubbo study has helped us understand the importance and scale of osteoporosis. It has provided important insights into the risk factors that lead to fracture, how to predict fracture risk and the devastating outcomes that can occur following a fracture. The data from this research project has been translated in numerous ways and been used to help doctors, the community and other bone researchers. While it was a large undertaking to set up, the impact of this study has been immense both in Australia and globally, and we thank the study participants for making it possible.”

Some key findings from the study include:

• Following a fracture, there is an increased risk of a subsequent fracture – approximately 2-fold increase in women and 3-4 fold increase in men

• Osteoporosis is not just a disease of women with one in three fractures occurring in men

• Following almost all major fractures, not just hip fractures, there is an increased risk of premature mortality

• The risk of subsequent fracture and premature mortality occur soon after fracture, particularly in the first 1-2 years

• Genetic factors account for a large proportion of bone density. Genetic studies both from Dubbo and internationally have further found that bone strength and structure cannot be traced to just a few genes (as first suspected) but involve a large number of genes and work in this area is ongoing.