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A Bone to Pick

Technology being developed by Imaging Therapeutics, a medical-imaging company in San Mateo, CA, could enable early, accurate detection of osteoporosis, a disease that afflicts nearly 10 million U.S. residents and leads to 1.5 million fractures each year.

Early diagnosis can make a big difference in preventing fractures, but the best bone-density test now available requires equipment so expensive that few radiologists have it. In Imaging Therapeutics’ system, special algorithms reveal microscopic changes in bone architecture as captured in a digital image of a standard jaw x-ray. Such changes can appear in trabecular bone-a type of bone found in the hip and spine, as well as the jaw-even before loss of bone density is detectable. Imaging Therapeutics hopes that within two years it will be able to make its technology broadly available.

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