Condition category
Musculoskeletal Diseases
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Musculoskeletal aging, leading to osteoporosis (a health condition where the bone becomes brittle and fragile) and sarcopenia (a condition where muscle loses its mass – so it shrinks – and strength) , results in falls and fractures that largely contribute to mortality (disease and ill-health) and loss of quality of life in the elderly. In order to provide a more complete understanding of bone and muscle aging and a rationale for targeted interventions (treatments) to prevent falls and osteoporotic (bone)fractures, this study aims at identifying the intrinsic and extrinsic determinants of musculo-skeletal aging, and their contribution to quality of life.

Who can participate?
1036 retired community-dwelling healthy volunteers (men and women) from the Geneva area, at the age of 63-67 (Geneva Retirees Cohort (GERICO)).

What does the study involve?
Each participant in the study attends a study visit every three years to assess their current state of bone and muscle health. These are determined by measuring bone mineral density (measuring the amount of minerals in the bone) and the architecture of the bone (structure), muscle mass, how the muscles function and physical performance. Medical conditions are also noted, as are the number of fractures and falls, the participants nutrient intake and how physically active they are.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Participant will benefit from a comprehensive assessment of their bone and muscle health. No specific risk is expected.

Where is the study run from?
Service of Bone diseases, University Hospitals of Geneva (Switzerland)

When is study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
February 2008 to December 2018

Who is funding the study?
Geneva University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine Clinical Research Centre (Switzerland)

Who is the main contact?
Dr Emmanuel Biver

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Emmanuel Biver


Contact details

Division of Bone Diseases
Geneva University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine
4 Rue Gabrielle Perret-Gentil
Geneva 14

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Musculoskeletal aging in the Geneva Retirees Cohort (GERICO): a prospective analysis of its determinants and contribution to fractures and quality of life


GERICO (Geneva Retirees Cohort)

Study hypothesis

Predictors of falls and fractures, two major outcomes of osteoporosis and sarcopenia contributing to age-related disabilities and quality of life alterations, would be identifiable at time of retirement.

Ethics approval

1. Central Ethics Committee on Research on human beings of Geneva University Hospitals, 17/08/2008, ref: 08-036 (Psy 08-007)
2. Central Ethics Committee on Research on human beings of Geneva University Hospitals, 04/05/2012, ref: 11-256 (Psy 11-031)
3. Geneva Cantonal Committee of Research Ethics, 08/07/2015, ref: CER 15-133

Study design

Prospective single-center observational cohort study

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Longitudinal study

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details to request a patient information sheet.


Musculoskeletal diseases


The Geneva Retirees Cohort (GERICO) is a prospective observational cohort study of community-dwelling women and men recruited between 2008 and 2011 at the age of 65±1.4 yrs and followed longitudinally every 3 years after their first visit to assess the determinants of bone and muscle health alterations with aging. A second visit (follow-up 1) was initiated in 2012 and completed in 2014, and a third visit (follow-up 2) is undergoing since August 2015 until 2018.

Participants are assessed at each visit for:
1. Medical conditions, fractures and falls history, nutrition, physical activity.
2. Bone mineral density and micro-architecture
3. Muscle mass and function and physical performance (from second visit)
4. Blood tests

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Incident fractures, assessed by face-to-face or and auto-administered questionnaires (clinical fractures) and vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) by DXA (morphometric vertebral fractures) at follow-up 1 (after 3 years) and 2 (after 6 years). Written confirmation (eg, discharge summary, radiologist report) will be requested.

Secondary outcome measures

1. Bone phenotype at baseline, follow-up 1 (after 3 years) and 2 (after 6 years)
1.1. Bone mineral density using DXA (lumbar spine, hip, radius)
1.2. Bone microstructure and strength using high resolution peripheral computerized tomography (HR-pQCT) at distal radius and tibia
2. Muscle phenotype at follow-up 1 and 2
2.1. Muscle mass and appendicular lean mass adjusted for height mass (kg/m2) using DXA.
2.2. Muscle function and physical performance
3. Falls in the past years of follow-up 1 and 2
4. Genotyping at baseline using exome chip
5. Biochemical measurements of bone and mineral metabolism at baseline, follow-up 1 and 2.
6. Nutrition (calcium and protein intakes) using a food frequency questionnaire at baseline, follow-up 1 and 2
7. Physical activity using a face-to-face administered questionnaire at baseline, follow-up 1 and 2
8. Ten-year fracture probability using FRAX tool at baseline, follow-up 1 and 2
9. Assessment of quality of life using auto-administered questionnaires at follow-up 2

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Recently retired workers from the Geneva area
2. Both genders
3. Age 63 to 67 years
4. Rural and urban communities

Participant type

Healthy volunteer

Age group




Target number of participants


Total final enrolment


Participant exclusion criteria

1. History of cancer treated in the past 5 years
2. Chronic renal failure
3. Chronic liver or lung disease
4. Current corticosteroid therapy
5. Primary hyperparathyroidism
6. Paget disease of bone
7. Malabsorption
8. Any neurological or musculoskeletal condition affecting skeletal health

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

Service of Bone Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine Specialties, Geneva University Hospital
4 Rue Gabrielle Perret-Gentil
Geneva 14

Sponsor information


Division of Bone Diseases, Geneva University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine

Sponsor details

Rue Gabrielle Perret-Gentil
Geneva 14

Sponsor type

Hospital/treatment centre



Funder type

Hospital/treatment centre

Funder name

Geneva University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine Clinical Research Centre

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

The trialists intend to present preliminary study results at scientific conferences during the course of the study and plan publications in high-impact peer reviewed journals around one year after the end of follow-up.

Intention to publish date


Participant level data

Not expected to be available

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2013 results in:
2015 results in:
2016 results in:
2017 results in:
2017 results in:
2018 results in:
2020 results in (added 20/07/2020)

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

20/07/2020: The following changes were made to the trial record: 1. Publication reference added. 2. The total final enrolment was added. 08/05/2018: Publication reference added. 20/10/2017: Publication reference added. 02/10/2017: Publication reference added.