Social determinants of musculoskeletal disease across the lifecourse

Lead Researcher Email Number Webpage
Dr Sharon Brennan-Olsen View page

Project Details

This program of research investigates social determinants of musculoskeletal diseases across the lifecourse. Whilst musculoskeletal diseases such as sarcopenia and osteoporosis are largely considered geriatric conditions, the attainment of peak bone and lean mass during young adulthood, and maintenance through mid-life, likely dictates the risk of these conditions in later life. For musculoskeletal diseases of the joint, such as osteoarthritis, the situation is hypothesised to be similar. Thus, this research aims to understand the role played by social factors on musculoskeletal disease onset and progression from childhood, during adolescence, and into adulthood and older age.


Dr Sharon Brennan-Olsen, Senior Research Fellow, and NHMRC Career Development Fellow

Ms Darci Green, Research Assistant


Dr Lynne Millar (Australian Health Policy Collaboration)

Dr Rachel Duckham  (Deakin University)

Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry

World Health Organization

Many more international and national collaborators

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD, Masters by Research, Honours students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Outcomes

Brennan-Olsen SL, Cook S, Leech MT, Bowe SJ, Kowal P, Naidoo N, Page RS, Ackerman IN, Hosking SM, Pasco JA, Mohebbi M. Prevalence of arthritis according to age, sex and socioeconomic position in six lower to middle income countries: The World Health Organization Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE)-Wave 1. BMC Musculoskeletal Disease, 2017;18:271

Brennan-Olsen SL, Vogrin S, Holloway KL, Page RS, Sajjad MA, Kotowicz MA, Livingston PM, Khasraw M, Hakkennes S, Dunning TL, Brumby S, Pedler D, Sutherland A, Venkatesh S, Williams LJ, Duque G, Pasco JA. Geographic region, socioeconomic position, and the utilisation of primary total joint replacement for hip or knee osteoarthritis across Western Victoria: A cross-sectional multilevel study of the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry. Arch Osteoporos. 2017;12(1):97

Brennan-Olsen SL, Kinsella R, Vogrin S, Leslie WD, Toombs M, Duque G, Hosking SM, Holloway KL, Doolan BJ, Williams LJ, Page RS, Pasco JA, Quirk SE. Fractures in indigenous compared to non-indigenous populations: A systematic review of rates and aetiology. Bone Reports, 2017;6:145-158

Fredman NJ, Duque G, Duckham RL, Green D, Brennan-Olsen SL. Associations between socioeconomic factors and proinflammatory cytokines in children, adolescents and young adulthood: A systematic review. BMJ Open. 2018;8(2):e019381

Green D, Duque G, Fredman N, Rizvi A, Brennan-Olsen SL. Is there a social gradient of sarcopenia? A meta-analysis and systematic review protocol. BMJ Open. 2018;8:e019088

Riancho JA, Brennan-Olsen SL. The epigenome at the crossroad between social factors, inflammation and osteoporosis risk. Clinical Reviews of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, 2017;15(2):59-68. doi: 10.1007/s12018-017-9229-5

Brennan-Olsen SL, Page RS, Berk M, Riancho JA, Leslie WD, Wilson SG, Saban KL, Janusek L, Pasco JA, Hodge JM, Quirk SE, Hyde NK, Hosking SM, Williams LJ. DNA methylation and the social gradient of osteoporotic fracture: A conceptual model. Bone, 2016;84:204-212

Brennan-Olsen SL, Page RS, Lane SE, Lorimer M, Buchbinder R, Osborne RH, Pasco JA, Wluka AE, Sanders KM, Ebeling PR, Graves SE. Few geographic and socioeconomic variations exist in primary total shoulder arthroplasty: A multi-level study of Australian registry data. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2016:17(1):291

Research Publications

Hyde NK, Brennan-Olsen SL, Wark JD, Hosking SM, Holloway KL, Pasco JA. Vitamin D during pregnancy and offspring body composition. Paediatric Obesity. Accepted January 12, 2017

Research Group

Social epigenomics and population health: Musculoskeletal disease

School Research Themes


Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Western Health

Unit / Centre

Social epigenomics and population health: Musculoskeletal disease