Detecting osteoporosis via dental X-rays

Jan. 3, 2007 at 6:38 PM

MANCHESTER, England, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- European researchers have created a unique way of identifying osteoporosis sufferers from ordinary dental X-rays.

University of Manchester researchers Keith Horner and Dr. Hugh Devlin coordinated a three-year study with the universities of Athens, Leuven, Amsterdam and Malmo to develop the largely automated approach to detecting the disease.

Seventy percent of women over the age of 80 are at risk for osteoporosis, which carries a high risk of bone fractures.

The researchers developed a revolutionary, software-based approach to detecting osteoporosis during routine dental X-rays by automatically measuring the thickness of part of the patient's lower jaw, according to the study published in the journal Bone.

"At the start of our study we tested 652 women for osteoporosis using the current 'gold standard' test that identified 140 sufferers," said Horner.

"Our automated X-ray test immediately flagged-up over half of these. The patients concerned may not otherwise have been tested for osteoporosis, and in a real-life situation would immediately be referred for conclusive testing."

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