Dental X-rays May Detect Osteoporosis

Published Online: Friday, July 1, 2005

Screening for osteoporosis may be possible at the dentist's office using dental x-rays. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Dentistry, investigated several ways to analyze dental x-rays for evidence of osteoporosis. The study involved 49 women, 26 of whom had been diagnosed with osteoporosis and 23 of whom did not have the disease. Using 3 types of computer image analyses, researchers looked for which analysis best identified whether patients had the disease. The results showed that all 3 types of image analysis could aid in screening for osteoporosis. The combination of 2 analyses was the most accurate, with 92% of osteoporosis patients correctly identified and 96% without osteoporosis correctly identified. The researchers suggest, however, that other factors could be integrated into this kind of screening system. Clinical features such as gender, age, use of hormone replacement therapy, familial history of osteoporosis, race, and other x-ray measurements could be used.

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