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Bone. 1994 Sep-Oct;15(5):539-45.

Age- and sex-dependent cancellous bone changes in a 4000y BP population.

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Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Osteology, Vienna, Austria.


We studied cancellous bone loss in a 4000y BP population, using several methods designed to detect age-related changes, in order to investigate the pattern of cancellous bone loss in this ancient population and to compare the results deriving from different methods used on identical specimens. We used 10-mm sections of fourth lumbar vertebral bodies and left femoral necks of 18 individuals of both sexes with estimated ages from 20 to 60 years of a 4000y BP bronze-age population. Stereoscopic photographs were used for three-dimensional analysis and trabecular number (TN) counting. After embedding, the following parameters were measured in different image analysis systems using plane parallel block samples: bone mineral density (BMD) in water by DEXA, and by evaluation of standardized radiographic images; fractional bone volume (BV/TV) in backscattered electron images of the trabecular surface layer and in optical images of trabeculae in a surface-stained layer; and trabecular bone pattern factor (TBPf) in the latter images. There was a high correlation between the results of morphological methods for measuring fractional bone volume. Reasonable correlations were found between the x-ray photon methods and poor correlations between these and the morphological methods. These poor correlations may be due to the diagenetic substitution occurring in archaeological skeletons, which would strongly influence x-ray-based density measurements. However, all the methods demonstrated that the most dramatic loss of quantity and quality in cancellous bone occurred in females between 40 and 60 years.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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