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J Clin Densitom. 2005 Spring;8(1):31-8.

Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry measurements of total-body bone mineral during weight change.

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  • Department of Medical Physics, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK, EH4 2XU. peter.tothill@ed.ac.uk


Bone mineral measurements were made using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry during a multicenter diet trial. There were five centers, two using Hologic QDR4500 fan-beam scanners, two using Lunar Prodigy fan-beam scanners,and one using a pencil-beam Lunar DPX. Measurements were made at 0, 2.5, and 6 mo. The mean weight loss was 7.9 kg, but there was a wide range. With the Lunar instruments, the total-body bone mineral density reduced with weight loss, but with the Hologic scanners, it appeared to increase. This anomaly is similar to that observed previously with a Hologic QDR1000 pencil-beam scanner. It was shown that changes of fat distribution can lead to alterations in bone measurement without any real change in the skeleton. With all of the scanners, there was a strong correlation between the change in the bone mineral content and bone area, with some values of the latter being quite implausible. There was an associated worsening of long-term precision compared with that derived from short-term duplicated scans, more marked with the Lunar scanners. It is concluded that measurement artifacts preclude the valid assessment of total-body bone mineral during weight change.

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