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IEEE Trans Inf Technol Biomed. 2006 Jul;10(3):484-9.

MR imaging and osteoporosis: fractal lacunarity analysis of trabecular bone.

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Gerontologic and Geriatric Research Department, Italian National Research Centers on Aging, Ancona.


We develop a method of magnetic resonance (MR) image analysis able to provide parameter(s) sensitive to bone microarchitecture changes in aging, and to osteoporosis onset and progression. The method has been built taking into account fractal properties of many anatomic and physiologic structures. Fractal lacunarity analysis has been used to determine relevant parameter(s) to differentiate among three types of trabecular bone structure (healthy young, healthy perimenopausal, and osteoporotic patients) from lumbar vertebra MR images. In particular, we propose to approximate the lacunarity function by a hyperbola model function that depends on three coefficients, alpha, beta, and gamma, and to compute these coefficients as the solution of a least squares problem. This triplet of coefficients provides a model function that better represents the variation of mass density of pixels in the image considered. Clinical application of this preliminary version of our method suggests that one of the three coefficients, beta, may represent a standard for the evaluation of trabecular bone architecture and a potentially useful parametric index for the early diagnosis of osteoporosis.

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