Professor Keith Horner and Dr Hugh Devlin co-ordinated a three year, EU-funded collaboration with the Universities of Athens, Leuven, Amsterdam and Malmo, to develop the largely automated approach to detecting the disease. Their findings are published online by the Elsevier journal Bone.
Osteoporosis affects almost 15% of Western women in their fifties, 22% in their sixties and 38.5% in their seventies. As many as 70% of women over 80 are at risk*, and the condition carries a high risk of bone fractures - over a third of adult women falling victim at least once in their lifetime.
Despite these figures and pressure from the EU to improve the identification of people at risk, wide-scale screening for the disease is not currently viable - largely due to the cost and scarcity of specialist equipment and staff.
The team has therefore 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.
X-rays are used widely in the NHS to examine wisdom teeth, gum disease and during general check-ups, and their use is on the rise. In 2005 almost 6000 were taken on female patients aged 65 or over in a single month, and the number taken has increased by 181% since 1981**.To harness these high usage-rates, the team has drawn on ‘active shape modeling’ technology developed by the University’s Division of Imaging Sciences to automatically detect jaw cortex widths of less than 3mm - a key indicator of osteoporosis - during
the x-ray process, and alert the dentist.
Professor Horner explained: “At the start of our study we tested 652 women for osteoporosis using the current ‘gold standard’, and highly expensive, DXA test. This identified 140 sufferers.
“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 DXA testing.
“This cheap, simple and largely-automated approach could be carried out by every dentist taking routine x-rays, yet the success rate is as good as having a specialist consultant on hand.”
Dr Devlin continued: “As well as being virtually no extra work for the dentist, the diagnosis does not depend on patients being aware that they are at risk of the disease. Just by introducing a simple tool and getting healthcare professionals working together, around two in five sufferers undertaking routine dental x-rays could be identified.
“We’re extremely encouraged by our findings, and keen to see the approach adopted within the NHS. The next stage will be for an x-ray equipment company to integrate the software with its products, and once it’s available to dentists we’d hope that entire primary care trusts might opt in.
“The test might even encourage older women to visit the dentist more regularly!”
Jon Keighren | alfa
Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
21.11.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Life Sciences