Measurement of Bone Mineral in vivo: An Improved Method

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Science  11 Oct 1963:
Vol. 142, Issue 3589, pp. 230-232
DOI: 10.1126/science.142.3589.230


The mineral content of bone can be determined by measuring the absorption by bone of a monochromatic, low-energy photon beam which originates in a radioactive source (iodine-125 at 27.3 kev or americium 241 at 59.6 kev). The intensity of the beam transmitted by the bone is measured by counting with a scintillation detector. Since the photon source and detector are well collimated, errors resulting from scattered radiation are reduced. From measurements of the intensity of the transmitted beam, made at intervals across the bone, the total mineral content of the bone can be determined. The results are accurate and reproducible to within about 3 percent.