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Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 1999 Nov;2(6):453-63.

Neutron activation analysis determination of body composition.

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  • 1USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA. kehayias@hnrc.tufts.edu


The nutritional status of patients can be evaluated by monitoring changes in body composition, including the depletion of protein and muscle, adipose tissue distribution and changes in hydration status, bone or cell mass. Neutron activation analysis is a unique reference tool for the in-vivo determination of body composition. In this review we describe the recent changes in the field that followed the advent of new portable generators of fast neutrons, capable of performing elemental analysis in the clinical environment. New models were developed based on the partition of the measurable elements of the body. The recent developments help evaluate new treatments for wasting and obesity, in which change in body composition is the main outcome.

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