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Vol. 22. Issue 3.
Pages 184-189 (01 May 2018)
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Vol. 22. Issue 3.
Pages 184-189 (01 May 2018)
DOI: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2017.12.004
Twin studies for the prognosis, prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions
Lucas Calais-Ferreiraa,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author at: Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, 3/207 Bouverie St, Carlton, VIC 3057, Australia.
, Vinicius C. Oliveirab, Jeffrey M. Craigc,d,e, Louisa B. Flandera, John L. Hoppera, Luci F. Teixeira-Salmelaf, Paulo H. Ferreirag
a The University of Melbourne, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
b Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri (UFVJM), Programa de Pós-Graduação em Reabilitação e Desempenho Funcional, Diamantina, MG, Brazil
c Deakin University, School of Medicine, Centre for Molecular and Medical Research, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
d Royal Children's Hospital, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
e The University of Melbourne, Department of Paediatrics, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
f Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Departamento de Fisioterapia, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
g The University of Sydney, Faculty of Health Sciences, Musculoskeletal Health Research Group, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

  • Twin studies can help answer relevant scientific questions in musculoskeletal research.

  • International collaboration has been allowing researchers to access data and expertise from global twin registries.

  • The Brazilian Twin Registry is an important resource to conduct and facilitate twin studies in Brazil and abroad.

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Tables (1)
Table 1. Characteristics of registered twin pairs with baseline data in the Brazilian Twin Registry.

Musculoskeletal conditions are highly prevalent in our ageing society and are therefore incurring substantial increases in population levels of years lived with disability (YLD). An evidence-based approach to the prognosis, prevention, and treatment of those disorders can allow an overall improvement in the quality of life of patients, while also softening the burden on national health care systems.


In this Masterclass article, we provide an overview of the most relevant twin study designs, their advantages, limitations and major contributions to the investigation of traits related to the domain of musculoskeletal physical therapy.


Twin studies can be an important scientific tool to address issues related to musculoskeletal conditions. They allow researchers to understand how genes and environment combine to influence human health and disease. Twin registries and international collaboration through existing networks can provide resources for achieving large sample sizes and access to expertise in study design and analysis of twin data.

Twin studies
Musculoskeletal research
Brazilian twin registry
International collaboration


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Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy

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