Gambian Bone Ageing Study (GamBAS)

ING Staff: Kate Ward, Yankuba Sawo, Landing Jarjou, Gail Goldberg, Inez Schoenmakers, Tony Fulford, Ann Prentice

Global data suggest that the incidence of hip fractures in Africa and Asia is considerably lower than in age-matched Caucasian populations. However, it is predicted that the incidence will increase 6-fold to about 6 million in Africa and Asia by 2050 as a result of an increase in longevity and a transition towards a more Westernised lifestyle. This will dramatically increase the burden of chronic disease, with the attendant increases in debilitating morbidity and health care costs.

Our studies of older people in rural Gambia have shown that they have extremely low calcium intakes, low bone mineral density and high plasma parathyroid hormone concentrations, and women have repeated cycles of pregnancy and lactation, all of which are risk factors for low trauma fracture in developed populations. As yet our studies have not clearly identified determinants of the low incidence of fragility fracture in rural Gambia.

GamBAS aims to describe musculoskeletal ageing in Gambian people, characterise the changes in bone mass, geometry and strength, and identify explanatory factors including muscle strength/function, bone metabolism, diet and physical activity.

Our aim is to recruit 240 men and 240 women (30 men and 30 women in each of 8, 5-year age bands 40-45, 45-50, 50-55, 55-60, 60-65, 65-70, 75+). Participants are having baseline measurements and will be followed up for repeat measurements 1.5-2 years later.


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