, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp 1013-1015
Date: 18 Mar 2005

BMD: The problem

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Few fields of clinical medicine possess tools as useful and accurate as bone densitometry. Bone mineral density (BMD) and its cognate T -score have contributed importantly to the maturation of the field, to the identification and treatment of patients with osteoporosis, and, at various levels, to the validation of efficacy for a broad array of treatment regimens. That much has been a success story.

However, BMD has also come to dominate the field of clinical bone research. There, as Seeman has commented [1], it is usually the wrong measure, both because it is only indirectly related to the research question it is used to answer, and because it often gives misleading results.

This is not an original observation. Seeman has expanded on this point exhaustively [13]; Prentice has stressed that BMD should never be used in epidemiological research [4]; and chapters on design of clinical bone studies have emphasized the importance of using bone mineral content (BMC) rather than BMD [5]. Yet pa ...