The intrauterine and genetic factors associated with the childhood fracture risk

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Remote connection: https://oulu.zoom.us/j/67275005508

Topic of the dissertation

The intrauterine and genetic factors associated with the childhood fracture risk

Doctoral candidate

M.D. Roope Parviainen

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, PEDEGO RESEARCH UNIT

Subject of study

Medicine

Opponent

Professor Juha Paloneva, University of Eastern Finland

Custos

Professor Juha-Jaakko Sinikumpu, University of Oulu

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Maternal smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy are associated with increased fracture risk of the child

Smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy are associated with higher fracture risk in children. Smoking during pregnancy seems to double the risk of suffering a fracture in childhood. The effect to the bone may be caused by nicotine and other chemical compounds of the cigarette smoke. Even a modest amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy associates with increase in the childhood fracture risk. Alcohol and its metabolites are known to affect the development of the skeleton.

The aforementioned results are based on the Ph.D. thesis of Roope Parviainen from the University of Oulu. The results are internationally relevant since previous studies of the subjects are scarce.

A large Northern Finland birth cohort, including over 3000 people, was used to find out risk factors for pediatric fractures. Third of all children suffer at least one fracture before the age of 16 years. Thus, childhood fractures are quite common, but it is unclear why part of the children, with seemingly healty skeleton, break bones more often than others. The external reasons, such as hobbies and nutritional issues, explain only part of the difference, particularly among young children.

The PhD thesis studied also the assocation between fracture risk and birth weigth and -length, but there was no association found. On the other hand, it was discovered, using genome-wide association analysis, that changes in certain genetic loci are associated with higher fracture risk. This supports the idea of genetic vulnerability to fractures, but the cell level mechanisms behind this are unknown.
Last updated: 3.12.2020