SUMMARY: Discovery of 3 genomic regions associated with an increased risk of falling.
OVERVIEW: Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, with more than one-third of all Americans over 65 suffering a fall each year. For some injuries, such as hip fractures, up to 90% occur as the result of falls. Because many factors that lead to falling, such as cognition and muscle function, have a genetic component, this study sought to find genetic factors directly associated with an increased risk of falling. The study examined the genomes of over 450,000 individuals of European ancestry and identified 3 genomic regions associated with an increased risk of falling. Several variants were located in genes important for the development of the brain’s cortex, a region with important sensory and motor functions. Overall, the study found that nearly 3% of an individual’s risk of falling may be determined by genetics. The study also found that conditions such as insomnia and depression are correlated with an increased risk of falling, while well-being and intelligence were correlated with a decreased risk.
DID YOU KNOW? Certain physical activities may help prevent falls in those with an increased risk. This can include activities such as taking regular walks and exercises such as tai chi, which may improve balance and strength. [SOURCE]
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FALL RISK-ASSOCIATED VARIANTS: rs2709062, rs2111530, rs2431108
WEEKLY UPDATE: October 10, 2020