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Osteoporos Int. 2002 May;13(5):366-72.

Fractal analysis of trabecular bone texture on calcaneus radiographs: effects of age, time since menopause and hormone replacement therapy.

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Institut de Prévention et de Recherche sur l'Ostéoporose, Unité INSERM-ERIT-M 0101, Hôpital Porte Madeleine, Orléans, France.


An analysis of trabecular bone texture based on fractal mathematics, when applied to trabecular bone images on plain radiographs, can be considered as a reflection of trabecular bone microarchitecture. It has been shown to be able to distinguish postmenopausal osteoporosis cases from controls. This cross-sectional study was carried out to investigate the influence of age, time since menopause and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on the fractal dimension of trabecular bone texture at the calcaneus in a sample of 537 healthy women. Fractal analysis of texture was performed on calcaneus radiographs and the result expressed as the Hmean parameter (H = 2-fractal dimension). Total hip, femoral neck and lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. There was a statistically significant Hmean parameter decrease with age (p<0.0001) but the degree of correlation was low (r = -0.2) compared with the correlation between age and BMD (r = -0.36 to -0.61 according to the BMD site). We found a weak but statistically significant correlation between time since menopause and Hmean (r = -0.14, p = 0.03) in the 241 postmenopausal women included in the study. Hmean was significantly lower in a group of postmenopausal women without HRT (n = 110) compared with a group of age-matched postmenopausal women with HRT (n = 110): respectively 0.683 +/- 0.043 and 0.695 +/- 0.038 (p = 0.03). In conclusion, this study suggests that there is a menopause- and age-related decrease in the Hmean parameter and that HRT interferes with the results of the fractal analysis of trabecular bone texture on calcaneus radiographs.

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