Research updates
Osteoporosis   p 12
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5 Current research on programming Link to the Medical Research Council web site
5.4 The effect of maternal nutrition
Dr Javaid and DXA machine Figure 18. Dr. Muhammad Kassim Javaid, having completed his A-levels, studied medicine at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, London.

After qualifying and completing his house jobs in London, he continued his medical training at Southampton General Hospital. This is where he decided to specialize in rheumatology. He is currently funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign for a Ph.D. degree working in Professor Cyrus Cooper’s group at the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, Southampton.

He is working as part of a multidisciplinary team to identify the environmental factors during pregnancy that may influence the risk of a baby developing osteoporosis many years later.

DXA picture
Figure 19. DXA picture of a neonate. From this it is possible to calculate (in grams) the amount of bone present as well as the bone density in different regions, e.g. skull, legs etc.
The research
Dr. Kassim Javaid’s research is part of an investigation into the programming of osteoporosis. He is looking at the relationship between maternal nutrition, both before conception and during pregnancy, and neonatal body composition.

He collects data from the mother about her diet, body build and skeletal status and compares this with the body composition of her baby when it is born. The measurements on the baby are made using DXA. DXA pictures of a neonate and a neonatal spine are shown.

Figure 20. Neonatal DXA of lumbar spine showing distribution of bone. From this it is possible to calculate (in g/cm2) the density of bone in each vertebra. DXA of lumbar spine

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Question 11
As part of his research, Dr. Javaid measures maternal triceps skin fold thickness.

a) What would you use to measure this?

b) What information could you obtain from the measurement?
c) How would you relate your result to the risks of developing hypertension and coronary heart disease or osteoporosis in later life?