Vertebral Fracture Prediction A method of processing data derived from an image of at least part of a spine is provided for estimating the risk of a future fracture in vertebraeof the spine. Position data relating to at least four neighbouring vertebrae of the spine is processed. The curvature of the spine at at least two of the neighbouring vertebrae is calculated. The different curvature values are computed to obtain a value representative of the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine and using the degree of irregularity, an estimate of the risk of a future fracture in vertebrae of the spine is provided. A higher degree of irregularity indicates a higher risk of future fracture.
 A method of estimating the risk of a future fracture in vertebrae of a spine by processing data derived from an image of at least part of a spine, comprising the steps of: processing position data relating to at least four neighbouring vertebrae of the spine; calculating the curvature of the spine at at least two of said neighbouring vertebrae; computing the different curvature values to obtain a value representative of the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine, and using the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine to provide an estimate of the risk of a future fracture in vertebrae of the spine, a higher degree of irregularity indicating a higher risk of future fracture.
 A method as claimed in claim 1, further comprising: processing position data derived from a later image of the same part of said spine and relating to the same at least four neighbouring vertebrae of the spine for which data was used previously; calculating the curvature of the spine at the same at least two of said neighbouring vertebrae for which curvature was calculated previously; computing the different new curvature values to obtain a new value representative of the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine; and comparing the new value representative of the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine with the value obtained earlier in time.
 A method as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising: processing position data relating to n neighbouring vertebrae in a region of interest of the spine; calculating the curvature of the spine at n2 of the n neighbouring vertebrae; and using the curvature values at said n2 vertebrae vertebra, calculating the mean curvature of the region of interest of the spine.
 A method as claimed in claim 3, wherein the step of deriving a value representative of the irregularity of curvature of the spine comprises calculating a value representing an average of the absolute differences between individual curvatures at 2 to n2 vertebrae in the region of interest of the spine and the mean curvature of the region of interest of the spine.
 A method as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the step of calculating the curvature at the individual vertebrae comprises: identifying a corresponding feature in three adjacent vertebrae of said at least four neighbouring vertebrae; and using said corresponding features to calculate curvature of the spine at the middle vertebra of said three adjacent vertebrae.
 A method as claimed in claim 5, wherein the step of identifying a corresponding feature in each of said three adjacent vertebrae comprises locating the centre point of each vertebra, the method further comprising: using the centre points of said three adjacent vertebrae to define part of a circle; and calculating the radius of said circle, wherein a value representative of curvature is calculated as the inverse of the radius.
 A method as claimed in any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the step of identifying a corresponding feature in each of said three adjacent vertebrae comprises locating the corner points of each vertebra, the method further comprising : using said corner points of said three adjacent vertebrae to define part of a circle; and calculating the radius of said circle, wherein a value representative of curvature is calculated as the inverse of the radius.
 A method as claimed in any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the step of calculating the curvature at the individual vertebrae comprises: calculating the angle of orientation of one vertebra relative to its two adjacent vertebrae.
 An instruction set comprising instructions for: processing position data relating to at least four neighbouring vertebrae of the spine; calculating the curvature of the spine at at least two of said neighbouring vertebrae; computing the different curvature values to obtain a value representative of the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine, and using the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine to provide an estimate of the risk of a future fracture in vertebrae of the spine, a higher degree of irregularity indicating a higher risk of future fracture.
 An instruction set as claimed in claim 9, further comprising instructions for: processing position data derived from a later image of the same part of said spine and relating to the same at least four neighbouring vertebrae of the spine for which data was used previously; calculating the curvature of the spine at the same at least two of said neighbouring vertebrae for which curvature was calculated previously; computing the different new curvature values to obtain a new value representative of the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine; and comparing the new value representative of the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine with the value obtained earlier in time.
 An instruction set as claimed in claim 9 or claim 10, further comprising instructions for: processing position data relating to n neighbouring vertebrae in a region of interest of the spine; calculating the curvature of the spine at n2 of the n neighbouring vertebrae; and using the curvature values at said n2 vertebrae vertebra, calculating the mean curvature of the region of interest of the spine.
 An instruction set as claimed in claim 11, wherein the instructions for deriving a value representative of the irregularity of curvature of the spine further comprise instructions for calculating a value representing an average of the absolute differences between individual curvatures at 2 to n2 vertebrae in the region of interest of the spine and the mean curvature of the region of interest of the spine.
 An instruction set as claimed in any of claims 9 to 12, wherein the instructions for calculating the curvature at the individual vertebrae further comprise instructions for: identifying a corresponding feature in three adjacent vertebrae of said at least four neighbouring vertebrae; and using said corresponding features to calculate curvature of the spine at the middle vertebra of said three adjacent vertebrae.
 An instruction set as claimed in claim 13, wherein the instructions for identifying a corresponding feature in each of the three neighbouring vertebrae further comprise instructions for locating the centre point of each vertebra, the instruction set further comprising instructions for: using the centre points of said three adjacent vertebrae to define part of a circle; and calculating the radius of said circle, wherein a value representative of curvature is calculated as the inverse of the radius.
 An instruction set as claimed in any of claims 9 to 13, wherein the instructions for identifying a corresponding feature in each of the three adjacent vertebrae comprise instructions for locating the corner points of each vertebra, the instruction set further comprising : using said corner points of said three adjacent vertebrae to define part of a circle; and calculating the radius of said circle, wherein a value representative of curvature is calculated as the inverse of the radius.
 An instruction set as claimed in any of claims 9 to
 13, wherein the instructions for calculating the curvature at the individual vertebrae comprises further instructions for : calculating the angle of orientation of one vertebra relative to its two adjacent vertebrae.
 A data storage apparatus for estimating the risk of a future fracture in vertebrae of a spine by processing an image of part of a spine, the data storage apparatus comprising a processor arranged to: process position data relating to at least four neighbouring vertebrae of the spine; calculate the curvature of the spine at at least two of said neighbouring vertebrae; compute the different curvature values to obtain a value representative of the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine, and using the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine to provide an estimate of the risk of a future fracture in vertebrae of the spine, a higher degree of irregularity indicating a higher risk of future fracture.
 A data storage apparatus as claimed in claim 17, wherein the processor is further arranged to: process position data derived from a later image of the same part of said spine and relating to the same at least four neighbouring vertebrae of the spine for which data was used previously; calculate the curvature of the spine at the same at least two of said neighbouring vertebrae for which curvature was calculated previously; compute the different curvature values to obtain a value representative of the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine; and compare the degree of irregularity in curvature of the spine with the value obtained earlier in time.
 A data storage apparatus as claimed in claim 17 or claim 18, wherein the processor is further arranged to: process position data relating to n neighbouring vertebrae in a region of interest of the spine; calculate the curvature of the spine at n2 of the n neighbouring vertebrae; and using the curvature values at said n2 vertebrae vertebra, calculate the mean curvature of the region of interest of the spine.
 A data storage apparatus as claimed in claim 19, wherein the processor is further arranged to calculate a value representing an average of the absolute differences between individual curvatures at 2 to n2 vertebrae in the region of interest of the spine and the mean curvature of the region of interest of the spine when deriving a value representative of the irregularity of curvature of the spine .
 A data storage apparatus as claimed in any of claims 17 to 20, wherein when calculating the curvature at the individual vertebrae, the processor is further arranged to: identify a corresponding feature in three adjacent vertebrae of said at least four neighbouring vertebrae; and using said corresponding features to calculate curvature of the spine at the middle vertebra of said three adjacent vertebrae.
 A data storage apparatus as claimed in claim 21, wherein identifying a corresponding feature in each of the three adjacent vertebrae comprises locating the centre point of each vertebra, and the processor is further arranged to: use the centre points of said three adjacent vertebrae to define part of a circle; and calculate the radius of said circle, wherein a value representative of curvature is calculated as the inverse of the radius.
 A data storage apparatus as claimed in any of claims 17 to 21, wherein identifying a corresponding feature in each of the three adjacent vertebrae comprises locating the corner points of each vertebra, and the processor is further arranged to: use said corner points of said three adjacent vertebrae to define part of a circle; and calculate the radius of said circle, wherein a value representative of curvature is calculated as the inverse of the radius.
 A data storage apparatus as claimed in any of claims 17 to 21, wherein when calculating the curvature at the individual vertebrae the processor is further arranged to: calculate the angle of orientation of one vertebra relative to its two adjacent vertebrae.

Nordic Bioscience As
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Pettersen Paola
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De Bruijne Marleen
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Christiansen Claus
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Tanko Laszlo B
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G06T2207/10116
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G06T2207/30012
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G06T7/0012
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G06F19/00
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 Publication: Oct 2, 2008

Application:
Mar 27, 2008
EP 2008053664 W

Priority:
Mar 27, 2007
GB 0705881 A