Review of Existing Research Suggests Genetic Influence on Rotator Cuff Disease

Results of a recent review of 7 studies concludes that rotator cuff disease, a disorder that impacts up to one-half of people over age 50, may be linked to genetics. The condition is associated with loss of function and shoulder pain, and is usually connected to injury or sustained overuse. A research team from Vanderbilt University Medical Center sought to investigate the possibility of genetic predisposition to acquiring the disease. Study author Dominique Dabija, MS, commented, “Identifying a genetic link can help early recognition of individuals at higher risk and could warrant application of prevention strategies for this specific population.” The team’s findings were presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Academic Physiatrists in Las Vegas.

The literature review identified 7 studies of rotator cuff disease from database citations in PubMed and EMBASE. 4 of these looked specifically at the question of familial disposition, and concluded that significant linkages exist between incidence of the disease and a history of siblings or other family members who also suffered from the condition. In the remaining 3 studies that were reviewed, an association was found between certain gene patterns and propensity for rotator cuff disease. Although noting the need for additional research, author Dabija concluded “…the consensus among all seven studies is rotator cuff disease is a heritable trait.”

Read more about the findings here.

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