Background: An increasing amount of biomedical data is becoming available, and methods are needed to tackle these big data.
Methods: We performed a systematic evaluation of 138 environmental and behavioral factors in relation to bone mineral density (BMD) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans were available for total body, head, pelvis and lumbar spine for 27,259 participants from NHANES surveys 19992000 (A), 20012002 (B), 20032004 (C) and 20052006 (D). A discovery Environment-Wide Association Study (EWAS) was performed on cohorts B and D, and replication was sought in cohorts A and C.
Results: Higher serum levels of a-tocopherol (per S.D. β=−0.25% for lumbar spine) and of g-tocopherol (β=−0.54% for total body), forms of vitamin E, were associated with decreased BMD. In contrast, retinol serum levels were related to higher BMD (per S.D. β=+0.21% for total body). Serum lead levels had a negative relationship to BMD of the lumbar spine (per S.D. β=−0.43%) and head (per S.D. β=−0.87%). Higher levels of physical activity were associated with higher BMD (total body: per MET +1.2%). Being a current or past smoker was associated with decreased BMD of the total body, pelvis and head.
Conclusion: In conclusion, our study demonstrates consistently that several behavioral traits and fat-soluble vitamins may have detrimental effects on BMD, while reinforcing the benefit of physical activity for skeletal health.
20 - 23 May 2017
European Society of Endocrinology