Expatriates who are at risk of suffering from a fracture may be able to benefit from the discovery of a gene that regulates bone strength and density.
A study, which was published in the journal PLoS Genetics and undertaken by medical specialists in the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, claimed this genetic marker could be able to determine the risk of a person sustaining a fracture and could also open up opportunities for preventative treatments to support bone health.
The Wnt16 gene's discovery was therefore deemed as "very important" by Mattias Lorentzon, who is a member of the university's Institute of Medicine.
International private medical insurance policies could soon be utilising this gene to develop medicines that can prevent common bone injuries.
"The treatments currently used for brittleness of the bones have very little effect on the cortical bone mass," Mr Lorentzon asserted, noting that if scientists can stimulate the gene's signalling routes, they could strengthen bones in critical locations.
In Sweden alone, 70,000 fractures are caused by brittle bones every year.