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J Clin Densitom. 1999 Winter;2(4):413-22.

In vivo detection of structural differences between dominant and nondominant radii using peripheral quantitative computed tomography.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


This cross-sectional study identifies differences in distal radial trabecular bone structure related to habitual loading patterns in the upper extremities using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography. As well, it determines whether measurements of these indices in one limb serve as satisfactory surrogates for the contralateral limb. The dominant and nondominant forearms of 106 adult volunteers (mean age [SD], 44.3[17.5] yr) were scanned and indices of trabecular bone structure (connectivity index [CI], maximum hole size [H(M)], and mean hole size [H(A)]) were determined at the distal radius. The images were also analyzed to determine bone density. For all subjects, H(M) is significantly smaller in the dominant radius (p < 0.01). Right-handed subjects (n = 96) have greater CI (p < 0.05) and smaller H(M) (p < 0.01) in the dominant radius. For the total group, the dominant limb has a greater mass (total and cortical bone mineral content, p < 0.01 and p < 0.05, respectively) and greater total bone volumetric density (p < 0.05). There are no significant differences between limbs for the group of left-handed subjects &lapr;n = 10). As expected, significant associations exist between side-to-side measurements of bone structure and density (p < 0.001). The correlation coefficients for connectivity index, H(M), and H(A) are 0.86, 0.85, and 0.87, respectively. For bone density, the between-limb associations are 0. 90, 0.73, and 0.92 for the total, cortical, and trabecular bone compartments at the distal radius. Differences in the structure of the trabecular bone network suggest that differential loading of the dominant limb preserves bone strength.

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