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Eur Radiol. 2006 Apr;16(4):811-7. Epub 2005 Oct 8.

Age-related changes in cortical bone mass: data from a German female cohort.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, St. Elisabeth-Krankenhaus, Cologne, Germany.


To describe data from digital radiogrammetry (DXR) in an unselected German female cohort over a wide age range. Using a retrospective study design we analyzed radiographs of the hand from 540 German women (aged 5-96 years) using an automated assessment of cortical thickness, metacarpal index (MCI), and estimated cortical bone mineral density (DXR-BMD) on digitized radiographs. Both hands were radiographed in 97 women. In this group DXR-BMD and cortical thickness were significantly higher in the right metacarpals while there was no significant difference in MCI. To study the association with age we differentiated young (<20 years), middle-aged (20-45 years), and an older patients (>45 years). In young women all parameters increased significantly with age in a linear fashion (r=0.8 for DXR-BMD, r=0.7 for MCI). In those aged 25-45 years DXR-BMD and MCI were highest (peak bone mass). In women aged 45 or older all parameters decreased with age in an almost linear fashion with an annual change ranging from 0.7% to 0.9%. Our results for an unselected German female cohort indicate that DXR is a reliable, widely available osteodensitometric technique based on the refinement of conventional radiogrammetry. These findings are comparable to those from other studies and represent a valid resource for clinical application and for comparisons with other ethnic groups.

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