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Differences in bone mineral density and geometry in men and women: the Newcastle Thousand Families Study at 50 years old

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephen Tuck, Professor Mark PearceORCiD, David Rawlings, Professor Fraser Birrell, Professor Louise Parker, Emeritus Professor Roger Francis


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In 1947 Sir James Spence initiated the Newcastle Thousand Families study, which recruited all 1142 children born in the city between May and June that year. At the age of 50 years, 832 survivors were traced and invited to attend for measurement of bone mineral density (BMD) by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The aim was to compare BMD measurements of men and women in this cohort, before and after adjustment for skeletal size. The femoral neck shaft angles (NSA) were also measured manually from the DXA scan printouts. A total of 171 men and 218 women agreed to participate. As expected men had greater bone mineral content and bone area at all sites (p<0.0001) and were taller and heavier (p<0.0001) than women. Men also had significantly higher BMD than women at all regions (p<0.0002), except at the femoral neck or lumbar spine. After correction for skeletal size and body weight, men had statistically significantly lower volumetric BMD at all sites. The measurement of NSA had good intra/interobserver errors and precision (coefficient of variations 0.79%, 1.2% and 1.2%). Men had significantly larger NSAs (mean 130 degrees , range 121-138 degrees ) than women (mean 128 degrees , range 119-137 degrees ). We conclude that there are gender differences in BMD, skeletal size and geometry in middle aged men and women, which together with the subsequent rate of bone loss, may influence fracture risk in later life.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tuck SP, Pearce MS, Rawlings DJ, Birrell FN, Parker L, Francis RM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Radiology

Year: 2005

Volume: 78

Issue: 930

Pages: 493-498

Print publication date: 01/06/2005

ISSN (print): 0007-1285

ISSN (electronic): 1748-880X

Publisher: British Institute of Radiology


DOI: 10.1259/bjr/42380498

PubMed id: 15900054


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