Smokers asked to help stub out weak bones

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SMOKERS have been asked to volunteer for a groundbreaking new study into a link between social deprivation and bone fractures.

It has been established that those living in more deprived areas have a greater risk of sustaining a bone fracture – but scientists do not yet know why.

Professor Stuart Ralston, professor of rheumatology at Edinburgh University and head of NHS Lothian’s osteoporosis clinic, is set to start a study to discover whether smoking could be a reason for weaker bones.

He said: “A few studies have shown that if people come from an areas of deprivation they are much more likely to break a bone.

“We are trying to recruit people who are smokers to do a bone density scan and answer a questionnaire.

“It’s well known that people who live in deprived areas have less healthy lifestyles. It may be just smoking that weakens bones or it could be lifestyle factors – such as smokers being more likely to drink alcohol.

“We want to find out whether smoking is a direct cause or a marker for something else. This study will help us find more out about what’s going on.”

If you are interested in participating in the study, email bonestudy@lists.ed.ac.uk or phone 0131 6511037.