Researchers in the School of Dentistry at the University of Manchester have created a unique way of identifying osteoporosis sufferers from ordinary dental x-rays. A 3-year, EU-funded collaboration with the Universities of Athens, Leuven, Amsterdam, and Malmo have developed an automated approach to detecting the disease.

The research team has developed a software-based approach to detecting osteoporosis during routine dental x-rays by automatically measuring the thickness of part of the patient’s lower jaw.

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.

According to Professor Keith Horner, “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.”

[www.sciencedaily.com, January 5, 2007]