Deep wrinkles, a telltale sign of aging, may also offer important clues about a woman’s bone fracture risk, according to a new study in early menopausal women.
Yale University researchers examined skin wrinkles in 11 spots on the face and the neck of 114 study volunteers, who were all within the last three years of the last menstrual period. They found the worse the wrinkles, the lesser the bone density, an indication that the skin and the bones are aging on parallel tracts.
In contrast, the lucky women with more rigid skin had better bone density.
The study, presented last week at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in Boston, is the first to identify a relationship between the physical properties of skin (wrinkles and rigidity) with the skeleton (bone mineral density and bone mass,) said lead author Lubna Pal, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at Yale University.
The connection may be that they share common building blocks – a group of proteins called collagens, said Pal.
“As people age, the changes in the skin collagen that visibly cause the skin to sag and wrinkle are likely paralleled by changes that are invisibly affecting bone quality and quantity,” she said.
The findings that the skin’s appearance and physical properties can reflect the quality of the skeleton are noteworthy “because this may allow clinicians to identify fracture risk in postmenopausal women at a glance without depending on costly tests,” she said.
The analysis adjusted for a variety of factors, including age, body mass index, smoking, ethnicity and race (black participants in the study had fewer wrinkles at the various sites tested) and multivitamin use.
The researchers will continue to follow the study participants to assess whether women with worse skin wrinkles lose bone at a faster rate than those with lesser wrinkles. They will also be able to look at whether higher skin rigidity means slower rates of bone loss in early menopausal years.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun