Wrinkles on a woman's face may be able to predict how likely she is to suffer from bone fractures, according to a US study released Monday.
That's because the level of proteins in the skin and bones are linked, so if a woman's face and neck are severely wrinkled, she faces a higher risk of bone breakage due to bone density loss, said Yale University researchers.
Researchers examined 114 early post-menopausal women, whose last menstrual period was within three years, as part of an ongoing clinical trial at numerous sites in the United States.
They measured the women's skin at 11 locations on the face and neck, both visually and using a device known as a durometer to assess how rigid the skin was on the forehead and cheek.
Bone mass and density were measured with a portable ultrasound and X-ray.
"We found that deepening and worsening skin wrinkles are related to lower bone density among the study participants," said Lubna Pal, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Yale School of Medicine.
"The worse the wrinkles, the lesser the bone density, and this relationship was independent of age or of factors known to influence bone mass."
More resilient skin was linked to better bone density, said the study released at the Endocrine Society meeting in the northeastern city of Boston, Massachusetts.
"Our findings that the appearance and physical properties of the skin can reflect the quality of the skeleton are noteworthy because this may allow clinicians to identify fracture risk in post-menopausal women 'at a glance' without depending on costly tests," said Pal.