Abstract for gee_tr696

Cambridge University Engineering Department Technical Report CUED/F-INFENG/TR696


A.H. Gee, G.M. Treece, C.J. Tonkin, D.M. Black and K.E.S. Poole

3 February 2015

Within each sex, there is an association between hip fracture risk and the size of the proximal femur, with larger femurs apparently more susceptible to fracture. Here, we investigate whether the thickness and density of the femoral cortex play a role in this association: do larger femurs have weaker cortices? To answer this question, we used cortical bone mapping to measure the distribution of cortical mass surface density (CMSD, mg/cm2) in cohorts of 308 males and 150 females. Principal component analysis of the various femoral surfaces led to a measure of size that is linearly independent from shape. After mapping the data onto a canonical femur surface, we used statistical parametric mapping to identify any regions where CMSD depends on size, allowing for other confounding covariates including shape. Our principal finding was a focal patch on the superior femoral neck, where CMSD is reduced by around 1% for each 1% increase in linear size (p < 0.000005 in the males, p < 0.001 in the females). This finding appears to be consistent with models of functional adaptation, and may help with the design of interventional strategies for reducing fracture risk.

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