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
Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
21.08.2018 | Life Sciences
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering