I Gave My Vibrator a $20 Upgrade and It Was the Best Decision I've Made All Year

One of the most iconic vibrators of all time remains the Hitachi Magic Wand, and trust us, it's intense. But, did you know that you can add a special attachment to your vibrator to decide exactly what intense means to you? That seems like an option that should be available for everything. How intense do you want meeting your partner's parents to be? How intense of a mood will your boss be in tomorrow? Unfortunately, even witches can't control such things. With the Desire Dial Variable Speed Controller attachment you can at least control the intensity of your wand vibrator.

What It Is

Anyone who owns a Hitachi knows that the "massager" comes with two speeds: "intense" and "oh my fucking god." Sometimes, when you're close to coming, it's fun to flip the switch to the high setting and blast off to Mars, but sometimes, it can feel like you might vibrate your clit off. The Desire Dial changes all that in a major way. The original Hitachi Magic Wand plugs into the wall, which can be cool if you suck at remembering to recharge things or find such assets classic. Cordless Hitachis are now commonplace, which are handy if you want to use one but aren't near an outlet.

Let's get this out of the way: The Desire Dial (available on Amazon, for your convenience) is not a small teeny modern sex toy that looks like a jump drive. It looks like something Dr. Frankenstein uses to bring his monster to life. Like the Hitachi, it's bulky and comes with a cord. You plug the dial into an electrical outlet and then plug your wand into the attachment. Once the two are joined, rather than two speeds, you can adjust the speed of your wand to any pace you like with the literal turn of a dial.

Why I Loved It

The Hitachi Magic Wand, by itself, really is magic. And not just for its iconic feminist history and life-changing orgasms (sorry, your boyfriend will never make you come harder, but he can use the wand on you, which is ultra-hot). My last Hitachi was at my boyfriend's when we broke up. He offered to mail it to me, but in all my relationships, I've never had the "post-breakup returning of belongings" go well. It is incredibly depressing to come home to a box filled with sex toys that not only remind you of your failed relationship but likely are literally covered in your ex's bodily fluids. As a witch, I believe objects, and especially bodily fluids, contain energy.

So after a breakup, if you have the budget, it's best to start fresh and just mutually throw each other's shit out, unless your ex happens to have your grandma's ring or something. But not long after the breakup, I got this sex toy review assignment, and not only a new Hitachi, but a dial that makes for an even more enjoyable experience. Sometimes the universe is nice to us.

I found it hot to feel like a mad scientist as I controlled my orgasm.

To be nice to myself, I laid in bed, put on some hot group sex porn, and connected my magic wand and new Desire Dial. Oh, it was so fun and felt so good. I wasn't limited to the slowest speed, but I also needn't worry about buzzing my clit off. You know when you're about to come, but don't want to stop masturbating yet? Just turn the dial down to zero. When I was ready, I turned the dial about two-thirds of the way up and was overcome with a relaxing, blissful orgasm. Not to mention, none of this dial turning was a buzz (lol) kill, rather the opposite. I found it hot to feel like a mad scientist as I controlled my orgasm.

Courtesy of brand

You know Ollivander's, the wand store in Harry Potter? I often think how for some witches, we'd be handed a Hitachi. Phoenix feather is cute, but can it make me come? Orgasms are powerful releases of sexual energy, and make you feel good, so by nature masturbation is casting a spell. And, with the wand speed controller, you can perfect your spellwork exactly to your liking.

If all this sounds up your alley, you can snag both the Original Magic Hitachi Wand and the Wand Massager Speed Controller together for $80 on Amazon right now. You won't regret it.

You can follow Sophie on Twitter and Instagram.

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YouTuber Reveals She Removed Her Breast Implants After Suffering Years of Scary Side Effects

Plastic surgery is becoming more and more commonplace, and everything from injectables to more traditional procedures (like breast augmentations and face-lifts) are on the table. While these procedures can be done safely in the hands of a practiced doctor, unfortunately, there can be rare cases of unwanted side effects — which is exactly what seemed to happen to YouTuber Karissa Pukas after she received a breast augmentation in 2014.

According to The Daily Mail, Pukas revealed in a YouTube video that she struggled so much after getting her breast augmentation with side effects like brain fog, acne, hair loss, and fatigue that she decided to have the implants removed this year. Pukas says her implants made her "feel like I was living in a 90-year-old's body."

The video, titled "The Truth About Breast Implants," is captioned, "My breast implants were making me chronically sick – here is my story." In it, Pukas mentions that she's felt sick since she got her breast augmentation in 2014, though she doesn't often show the pain on social media. The video chronicles the past four years in flashbacks, including one in which she says, "I've had on and off blurry vision and I feel like I'm an old woman. I have hip pain, back pain and digestive issues. I don't understand why I feel so old and debilitated at 26 years old." She also mentions symptoms like foggy memory, acne, diarrhea, and more — all of which she traces back to her 2014 breast augmentation.

She says in the video that she prides herself on living a "healthy lifestyle," including eating a vegetarian diet and exercising regularly, but none of these things worked well enough to combat her daily pain. Doctors were telling her nothing was wrong, but she says, "It just didn't make any sense, given the lifestyle that I lead and the priority that I put it." That's why she decided to get her breast implants removed earlier this year.

Since Pukas's experience with breast augmentation is not the norm, Allure spoke with North Carolina-based double board-certified surgeon Peter Capizzi about Pukas's. Capizzi, who has over 15 years of experience in the field, says, "I can assert that this is NOT a typical experience for breast augmentation patients," referring to Pukas's years-long struggle with unwanted symptoms after her surgery. He continues, saying, "That said, there are steps that patients considering breast augmentation can take to ensure a positive, healthy recovery and the results they desire."

He has quite a few recommendations for avoiding unwanted outcomes when it comes to breast augmentations. First, Capizzi recommends finding a trusted plastic surgeon with outstanding qualifications for your procedure, scheduling multiple consultations to make sure you choose the right practitioner, and choosing your surgeon based on who is best aligned with your goals rather than cost. He tells Allure, "I’ve treated patients who required repair due to out-of-country plastic surgery. They had gone this route to save money, only to find they need to have their results revised due to inexpert surgery and aftercare."

He also recommends taking time and care to choose the correct implants for you. He says, "In my opinion, the fifth generation gel implant, known affectionately as the 'gummy bear,' is the safest and best available on the market today. I was an FDA co-investigator for these Sientra-made implants, which have the lowest complications rates of any implant, and have what I consider to be the best warranty coverage to-date." In fact, they're the only implants he now uses in his practice.

Capizzi also recognizes that many factors are at play when talking about patient recovery, but says that choosing a surgeon with a higher skill set and experience level will lead to a better outcome and thus, a lower risk of infection. Though it's unclear why Pukas's experienced the level of complications she did, Capizzi says any patient experiencing difficulties should call the Patint Care Coordinatior assigned by their surgeon's practice.

While it's clear that any invasive surgery comes with a risk, many come out the other end feeling "fucking awesome," so make sure that with any elective procedures you're asking your surgeon all the right questions, as Capizzi points out.

Follow Rosemary on Instagram, Twitter, and her website.

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Twin study highlights importance of both genetics and environment on gene activity

New research highlights the extent to which epigenetic variation is influenced by both inherited and environmental factors.

Epigenetic processes affect the expression or activity of genes without changing the underlying DNA sequence and are believed to be one mechanism by which the environment can interact with the genome.

Now, an international group of researchers including teams from the University of Exeter, King’s College London, and Duke University in the USA have published a study in PLOS Genetics, using a unique cohort of over 700 pairs of twins to identify the factors influencing chemical modifications to DNA across the genome. In the study, funded by the Medical Research Council, the team compared the similarities between identical and non-identical twins, and found that epigenetic marks are more similar between identical twins—highlighting the role of DNA sequence variation in regulating gene activity. They also found that sites at which epigenetic variation is strongly linked to environmental exposures—such as smoking and obesity—are also partly under genetic control.

Professor Jonathan Mill, of the University of Exeter Medical School, led the study. He said: “These results highlight how both heritable and environmental factors can influence the way in which genes are expressed and function, with important implications for studies of health and disease.”

Dr. Eilis Hannon, of the University of Exeter Medical School, was first author on the paper. She commented “Our study provides a useful framework for interpreting the results of epigenetic epidemiological studies and shows that epigenetic differences are a potential mechanism linking genetic variation to gene regulation.”

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The FDA Just Issued a MAJOR Warning Against Vaginal Rejuvenation Procedures

If you spend enough time in certain corners of the beauty industry, you've probably heard the term "vaginal rejuvenation." The phrase has been used to refer to a procedure that "tightens" the inside and outside of the vagina, often using energy-based devices like lasers or radiofrequency. But medical professionals aren't so enthused about the idea of women zapping their vaginas with lasers.

The FDA has not cleared this kind of "vaginal rejuvenation," a fact that it makes clear in a new Safety Communication issued to patients who may be considering vaginal rejuvenation and health care providers that perform the procedure. The warning explains that no energy-based vaginal rejuvenation devices are FDA-approved and includes in the definition of vaginal rejuvenation non-surgical procedures with the goal of treating symptoms like "vaginal laxity, vaginal atrophy, dryness, or itching, pain during sexual intercourse, pain during urination, decreased sexual sensation," and more.

"We are aware that certain device manufacturers may be marketing their energy-based medical device for vaginal 'rejuvenation' and/or cosmetic vaginal procedures. The safety and effectiveness of energy-based medical devices to perform these procedures has not been established," reads the statement. It's not just that these treatments won't have their intended effect; according to the statement, they could also have adverse reactions. Nasty side effects can include "vaginal burns, scarring, pain during sexual intercourse, and recurring/chronic pain."

The FDA also encourages anyone who has experienced a health complication as a result of vaginal rejuvenation to file a report directly with the FDA. For those who may be considering the procedure, we have one word of advice — don't.

Don't forget to follow Allure on Instagram and Twitter.

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6 Questions That Reveal If You Should Try Polyamory

Last year, Scarlet Johansson very boldly told Playboy: “I don’t think it’s natural to be a monogamous person.” While the actress also noted, “I might be skewered for that,” she’s certainly not the only person in the world to criticise monogamy. Plenty of new relationship forms are becoming popular, including one that’s been getting a lot of buzz: polyamory. 


But are some humans really not meant to be monogamous? And how do you know if you’re one of them? 

First of all, what is polyamory exactly?

On their most basic level, polyamorous relationships are intimate relationships that involve more than two people, says relationship therapist Matt Lundquist.

But there’s a wide range of what polyamory can look like in practice. “A polyamorous relationship might include three or more relatively equal partners in an ongoing romantic emotional relationship either sharing a home or dating,” he explains. “Or there are also relationships where one or both partners have a more casual relationship ‘on the side.’”

This requires a lot of negotiating to prevent anyone getting hurt. “Thoughtful polyamorous relationships often come with rules and agreements ironed out early on,” Lundquist explains.

FYI, polyamorous relationships aren’t the same thing as open relationships. It’s also different than polygamy, says Gin Love Thomson, a relationship expert and self-help memoirist. The latter is “usually related to religion and is a male-dominated concept of the man having several wives,” she explains. “Polyamory, on the other hand, is not gender-exclusive.”

Before you take the polyamory plunge…

Every solid polyamorous relationship starts with taking a good, hard look at what you want and what’s going to make you happy. To help you decide if a polyamorous relationship is right for you and your partner, start by asking these seven questions:

1. How jealous are you?

Can you really handle seeing your partner date other people? “This is the most obvious question but also the most important and the hardest to answer,” says Lundquist. “Even when a given partner doesn’t want to be jealous or possessive, monogamy is so heavily ingrained in our culture some people just can’t get there.”

To a certain degree, it’s hard to know how you’ll really feel about your partner having another relationship until you dip your toe in the water, Lundquist says. But taking an honest look at how you’ve dealt with jealousy-inducing situations in the past can give you some important insight, he says.

There are a few specific questions you can ask yourself to test this: How did it feel that time you ran into your partner’s ex at a party? Do you find yourself getting uncomfortable when your partner keeps bringing up how much fun they have with their favorite coworker? Do you feel irritated when you see the bartender flirting with your partner? “I think life tests our jealous plenty,” Lundquist says. “We just don’t always look at the evidence honestly.”

2. Is this something you both want?

“Often, one partner is more into the idea of experimenting with the polyamorous lifestyle than the other,” explains Thompson. If that’s the case, it can cause a problematic power imbalance.

“The slightly hesitant partner, who is often participating to satisfy their partner and keep from losing them altogether, suffers,” she says. “As does the relationship.” If you’re looking to polyamory as a last resort or as a way to keep your partner from cheating, these are major red flags.

3. What is your (and your partner’s) motivation?

There are a few common goals that signal the arrangement might be a positive experience for you and your partner.

One major one: feeling limited by monogamy, says Lundquist. If you and your partner both feel that your monogamous relationship isn’t quite meeting your needs for closeness and intimacy (and that no monogamous relationship really could), it might be a signal that polyamory is a better fit for you.

A good motivation might also be as simple as “wanting more love and intimacy in your life, and wanting to see your partner be happy,” Lundquist says.

4. How secure do you feel in your current relationship?

“Sharing a partner creates shifts in the dynamic of trust and intimacy,” says Thompson.

That can be a slippery slope—especially if your relationship isn’t that solid to begin with. “Thoughtful polyamory takes more maturity and a stronger relationship from the start because the issues of jealousy and trust can be so difficult to navigate,” Lundquist says.

Figuring out how secure your relationship is isn’t an exact science, says Lundquist, but there are a few questions you should ask yourself before you test it. Are you and your partner good at resolving fights? Can you easily get on the same page about issues and goals for the relationship? Do you feel secure and not anxious about your partner’s love and commitment?

“It’s about looking at the evidence with sober eyes,” says Lundquist, adding it can also be helpful to talk these questions through with a therapist since someone outside the relationship may be able to spot potential issues more easily .

If the answer to a lot of these questions is no, it might mean your relationship is lacking the foundation necessary for polyamory. 

5. What groundrules do you want to establish?

As Lundquist points out, polyamorous relationships require a lot more negotiating, so you should be prepared to talk out new challenges as they come up. “Once things get going, you might find yourself surprised that you aren’t always on the same page with your partner,” he says.

The best way to stave off these potential conflicts is to set up some guidelines with your partner on the front end. Before starting any new relationships, talk through the logistics: What behaviors are okay? Is anyone off limits? Will you spend time together as a group and meet your partner’s partners?

“Even for couples who’ve bought into the idea of a polyamorous relationship, being able to say, for example, ‘I’d like to skip lunch with your sister so I can go on a date’ can be pretty awkward—not to mention disappointing,” Lundquist says. Before going poly, make a specific list with your partner of which behaviors are okay and which ones aren’t—including how many details you’ll give each other about other relationships or dates.

6. How will trying polyamory affect your future together?

Is polyamory going to be a forever thing? “Discuss with your partner whether you intend to shift gears when you have a kid or at another life event in the future,” says Lundquist.

It’s also a good idea to talk about how you’ll handle it if polyamory no longer feels like it’s working for one of you. “Check-ins are an important part of this type of relationship,” says Lundquist. “Some couples use a therapist for this or even a friend who’s more experienced with poly relationships.” Put a standing date on the calendar (these can be as often as bi-weekly or more spaced out every month or so—whatever you feel most comfortable with) where you both know the explicit purpose is to talk about how the relationship is going, which can help remove any awkwardness around bringing it up.

The most important thing, he says, is that each of you feels comfortable expressing when you’re not cool with something. If you don’t feel like you can bring it up when something’s not working for you in the relationship, that problem is only going to get bigger the deeper you get into polyamory.

There’s no exact science to answering these questions, but if exploring them makes you or your partner uncomfortable in any way, polyamory may not be the right fit for your curent relationship—or you.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US

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This Is Exactly What Your Bed Time Says About Your Sex Life

You’ve probs heard the old cliché, ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes a woman healthy, wealthy and wise.’ But a new study has found that there’s one major benefit to staying up late:

No strings attached sex. 

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University asked 554 young adults a series of questions on three elements of socio-sexuality (aka, uncommitted sex.)

1.) Their attitude towards sex without love.

2) Their interest in engaging in it. And,

3.) Their tendency to fantasise about it.

Ultimately, the study found that night owls of both genders were much more likely to be open towards casual sex in comparison to morning people. Not only that, they were more likely to fantasise about getting down and dirty with strangers too.

“Eveningness for both men and women is associated with a more unrestricted sociosexuality, which may stem from a broader suite of personality traits such as impulsivity or openness to experience,” explained the study’s lead author. Dr Robert Matchock. “Increases in sociosexuality may be subsumed into these traits as a lower level trait or a consequence of these behavioural traits.”

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What Should These Sex Positions *Really* Be Called?

Have you ever looked at your lipstick color’s incredible name (*ahem* Fenty’s “Ma’ Damn”) and thought: Who gets the amazing job of naming these?

Okay, now what about sex positions? Who picked “doggy style” and “cowgirl” and “missionary”? (Honestly, you’re failing compared to the lipstick people…)

Well, now it’s your turn to try your hand at naming sex positions. We present: seven not-so-conventional sex positions I invite you to put your stamp on.

Vote on what you think these moves should really be called. (Plus, there are some logistical pointers, in case you want to try one out yourself tonight.) Happy naming!

Women's Health

How to: To do this move, pretty much all you have to do is lay there. Have your partner enter you from missionary position, then slide his legs and chest off your body so his limbs form an “X” with yours. You can give a little butt massage while he thrusts or just kick back and enjoy the view.

Women's Health

How to: Have your partner lay off the edge of bed with shoulders and head on the floor and bottom half on the bed. You hop on top and swivel your hips, go up and down, or do whatever else feels good. Your partner will get a great view of you, while you’re 100 percent in charge.

Women's Health

How to: Lie back, and have your partner sit facing you, with your legs crossing over each other. Your legs should form an X. Kick the intimacy—and penetration—up a notch by holding your partner’s hands as he thrusts.

Women's Health

How to: Have your partner get into position first, and then flip yourself upside down. It looks a little weird, but he can get super-deep this way. Just have your guy go easy on the thrusts so he doesn’t put too much pressure on your upper body.

Women's Health

How to: Get into downward dog, and have your partner grab your legs so you can wrap them around his waist. Given how, er, physically challenging this one is, you may only be able to do this for a little while, so consider starting out or ending with this move.

Women's Health

How to: Know that stability ball you bought ages ago for at-home workouts and never used? It’s time to bust it out! Have your partner sit and balance on the ball, and then sit on top. You’re in control and can make things faster or deeper, using the bounciness of the ball to make everything next-level.

Women's Health

How to: Get into missionary position, and then raise your legs and extend them straight out, forming a “V.” This helps your guy have good contact with your vulva, so you can get all kinds of added stimulation. BTW, if this is too much for your hamstrings, feel free to grab your ankles and bend your knees.

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These Are 5 Of The Sexiest Scents, According To Science

It is scientifically proven that you can be attracted to someone based on how they smell. That’s right, someone can smell sexy. The human sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than any other sense and the part of the brain is also where our emotions are processed – coincidence? Definitely not.

Science has proven that some scents are sexier than others and can make you feel excited and aroused. These five sexy scents are the ones that will really get you in the mood.

1. Rose

Roses have a chemical called phenethylamine in them and said chemical contains amino acids that break down the hormones that create happiness. This helps people to remain happy for longer and gives off the feeling of love. Sexy, right? Try the Roseravished massage candle to set the mood with the rose scent and give a sensual massage to maximise on this aroma while you’re at it. 

2. Vanilla

Who doesn’t love the smell of vanilla? The sweet aroma contains the chemical heliotropin which is has been proven to be appealing to both men and women, so try a vanilla massage bar with your partner. Not only will this soothe your skin, but the smell alone is enough to get anyone going.

3. Citrus

Lemons and limes aren’t as sour as you think. In fact, the smell of citrus can help boost someone’s mood, give them more energy and make them more alert. So, if you are looking to go all night then try the DONA Sassy Tropical Massage Candle, which will make you feel fruity and fabulous and give you the energy you need.

4. Mint

Yes, that minty fresh smell can be incredibly sexy as it is invigorating and induces feelings of excitement. Experiment with peppermint lube to add some flavour to your foreplay. Not only is it tasty, but this also creates a tingling sensation that will elevate those feelings of excitement.  

5. Chocolate

Can’t get enough of chocolate? There is a scientific reason for that. Chocolate contains phenethylamine, the same chemical found in roses, creating feelings of love and happiness. The smell alone is enough to brighten someone’s mood, but it creates even more powerful sexual responses when eaten. Try DONA Kissable Body Paint to stimulate their skin and awaken your tastebuds.

Whether you want to feel aroused, excited or sensual, science has spoken and these scents can help you get there because these sexy scents are bound to get you and your partner in the mood.

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Men With This Personality Trait Are Better In Bed, Study Says

Conscientiousness is highly sought after when it comes to the boardroom, but it turns out the attribute can also be advantageous in the bedroom.

A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research analysed the “big five” personality traits theorised by some psychologists, and how they related to sexual function in women and men.

Researchers surveyed nearly one thousand couples about their sex lives, including how easily they got aroused, how inhibited they were around sex and if they experienced any sexual dysfunction. They were also quizzed on features of their own personality, as well as their partners.

They found that conscientious individuals – characterised by goal-oriented behaviour, organisations skills, attention to detail and high levels of thoughtfulness – reported fewer problems with their sex life compared to those who exhibited agreeableness, extraversion, openness and neuroticism.

“High conscientiousness can be especially beneficial when it comes to putting effort into a satisfying sexual life,” researchers stated, “Or to postpone one’s own needs and interests to focus on resolving a sexual problem within the context of committed, long-term relationships.”

“Men who are thorough and dutiful may feel the need to satisfy their partner sexually, which may in turn lead to better sexual function of their partners.”

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Osteoporosis, fracture risk predicted with genetic screen

A new genetic screen may predict a person’s future risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture, according to a study by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Specifically, the study, one of the largest of its kind, identified 899 regions in the human genome associated with low bone-mineral density, 613 of which have never before been identified.

People deemed to be at high risk—about 2 percent of those tested—were about 17 times more likely than others to develop osteoporosis and about twice as likely to experience a bone fracture in their lifetimes. In comparison, about 0.2 percent of women tested will have a cancer-associated mutation in the BRCA2 gene, which increases their risk of breast cancer to about six times that of a woman without a BRCA2 mutation.

Early identification of people with an increased genetic risk for osteoporosis could be an important way to prevent or reduce the incidence of bone fracture, which according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation affects 2 million people each year and accounts for $19 billion in annual health care costs.

“There are lots of ways to reduce the risk of a stress fracture, including vitamin D, calcium and weight-bearing exercise,” said Stuart Kim, Ph.D., an emeritus professor of developmental biology. “But currently there is no protocol to predict in one’s 20s or 30s who is likely to be at higher risk, and who should pursue these interventions before any sign of bone weakening. A test like this could be an important clinical tool.”

Kim is the sole author of the study, which will be published online July 26 in PLOS ONE.

Low bone-mineral density as predictor

Kim originally approached his investigation as a way to help elite athletes or members of the military learn if they are at risk of bone injury during strenuous training. Once he had compiled the results, however, he saw a strong correlation between people predicted to have the highest risk of low bone-mineral density and the development of osteoporosis and fracture.

Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease that results in a reduction in bone mass due to bone loss or defects in bone production, or both. It’s correlated with a high incidence of bone fracture because the weakened bone is less able to withstand the stress of slips and falls, or sometimes even normal daily activity. It affects millions of Americans and is responsible for as many as 1 in 2 fractures in women and 1 in 4 in men over the age of 50.

Two previous studies have shown that there is a genetic component to osteoporosis; you’re more likely to develop it if you have a family history of the condition. In addition to genetics, your behaviors, including the frequency and type of exercise you prefer and your diet, as well as your weight and gender, also play a large role in bone health. Recently, genetic studies on large groups of individuals have shown that hundreds of genes are likely involved, each making its own small contribution to either increased or decreased risk of the disease.

Osteoporosis is often diagnosed with a bone-mineral density test that uses X-rays to measure the amount of minerals, such as calcium, in a person’s hip, spine or heel. But bone-mineral density tests are usually only performed on people with a family history of osteoporosis or those who have experienced a recent fracture from a simple fall.

“The most common clinical algorithm used to detect or predict osteoporosis is called FRAX,” Kim said. “But the catch is that the two largest components of the FRAX algorithm are bone-mineral density and prior fracture. So it’s kind of a circular argument.”

Developing an algorithm

Kim analyzed the genetic data and health information of nearly 400,000 people in the UK Biobank—a vast compendium of de-identified information freely available to public health researchers around the world. For each participant, Kim collected data on bone-mineral density, age, height, weight and sex, as well that participant’s genome sequence. He then developed a computer algorithm to identify naturally occurring genetic differences among people found with low bone-mineral density.

Using the algorithm, Kim was able to identify 1,362 independent differences, or single-nucleotide polymorphisms, that correlated with low bone-mineral density readings. He then used a machine-learning method called LASSO, developed in 1996 by Stanford professor of biomedical data science and of statistics Robert Tibshirani, Ph.D., to further hone the data.

The resulting algorithm assigned a score to each of the nearly 400,000 participants to indicate their risk of low bone-mineral density; subsequent analyses showed that those in the bottom 2.2 percent of these scores were 17 times more likely than their peers to have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and nearly twice as likely to have experienced a bone fracture.

“The analysis worked really well,” Kim said. “This is one of the largest genomewide association studies ever completed for osteoporosis, and it clearly shows the genetic architecture that underlies this important public health problem.”

Kim is now planning to arrange a clinical trial to investigate whether elite athletes and select members of the military identified by the algorithm as being at high risk for osteoporosis and potential fracture can increase their bone-mineral density with simple preventive measures. He’s also interested in conducting a similar study among younger people with no obvious clinical symptoms of bone weakening.

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