Mid-Thigh Bone and Muscle Mass Measurements as an Assessment Tool for Diagnosis of Osteoporosis/penia, Sarcopenia and Osteosarcopenia: A Longitudinal Validation Study

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Western Health
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Ebrahim Bani Hassan ebrahim.bani@unimelb.edu.au 61 3 9731 2050 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au 03 8395 8121 Personal web page

Project Details

As we get older we lose bone and muscle mass and quality, known as osteoporosis and sarcopenia, respectively. As we lose bone mass our bones become brittle and easier to break. With less muscle mass we become weaker and possibly frail, in addition to becoming prone to falls. Those who have both weak muscles and brittle bones are called osteosarcopenic. Such patients are very prone to frailty, falls and fractures.

DXA is a technique that takes x-ray images of the body and estimates the amount of bone, muscle and fat in our body. This technique is used to diagnose osteoporosis, sarcopenia and osteosarcopenia. Currently the DXA measurements (at femoral neck and spine for bone, and whole-body for muscle mass) for early detection, prevention and treatment of the abovementioned diseases are not optimum. In other words, their ability to predict the rate of bone and muscle wasting with age can be improved.

Our preliminary (pilot) study demonstrated that the middle of the thigh might be a better place to measure muscle and bone mass in DXA images as the bone and muscle mass size in this area is most strongly related to age. However, long-term studies are required to determine if mid-thigh bone and muscle mass declines over time predict outcomes like falls and fractures better than the customary methods.

We will use a dataset of a study at the University of Western Australia to further validate our previous studies and we will include mid-calf and total thigh regions of interest in the new study as well. This study is called “Longitudinal Study of Aging in Women” (LSAW). The results of this study can increase our ability to detect bone and muscle loss at earlier stages and possibly predict the risk of falls and fractures with higher precision.

School Research Themes

Ageing, Musculoskeletal

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Western Health

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