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Calcif Tissue Int. 1997 Aug;61(2):110-3.

Bone mineral density of the skull in premenopausal women.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.


Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) of the head has received little attention. We used DXA to measure bone mineral density (BMD) of the entire skull including the mandible (BMDHead) and BMD of the cranial vault (BMDVault) in 91 normal young women. We also measured BMD of the total body (BMDTotal body), proximal femur ("total femur"), and lumbar vertebrae (L1-L4). BMD (g/cm2; mean +/- SE) was 1.032 +/- 0.011 for L1-L4, 0.995 +/- 0.011 for total femur, and 2.283 +/- 0.028 for BMDVault (cranial vault) and the mean body weight of all subjects was 59.8 kg. Correlation between BMD Vault and BMDHead was -0.004 g/cm2 suggesting that these two measurements of bone mass of the skull were similar. To determine the correlation between the different variables after accounting for external sources of variation, partial correlation derived from multiple regression was determined. Correlations between BMD at the various locations and with BMDTotal body were moderate to strong. Although small in magnitude, the partial correlations of body weight with BMDTotal body, total femur, and L1-L4 were of equal value in predicting BMDTotal body and further, BMDVault was not influenced by body weight. Including body weight in multiple regression in addition to total femur or L1-L4 removed the extraneous variation due to body weight, and predictions of MBDTotal body were as reliable as when BMDVault was based on goodness of fit tests (P = 0.314). The techniques used to measure BMD of the cranial vault is a relatively new variation of DXA technology. The precision was as good as other measurements of bone mass of the entire skull (including the mandible). Because the cranial vault is less sensitive to mechanical influences, it may be a region where response to therapy could be evaluated. The cranial vault may be a useful area to study certain heritable diseases that affect the skeleton, skeletal artifact, or evaluation of oral bone loss.

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