Increasing attention has been given in recent years to using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess skeletal condition. This method of imaging is sensitive to the marrow/bone interface and is therefore attractive for characterizing trabecular bone, which is the bone tissue most seriously affected by osteoporosis or bone loss due to disuse or weightlessness. With proper processing and analysis, the information gained from MRI scans has the potential to provide measures of trabecular bone architecture rather than just bulk density or mass, but the extent to which this is true has not been definitively documented to date. Recent studies by Chung et al. (1993) and Jergas et al. (1995) have examined the relationships among mechanical properties and MRI signals, with encouraging results. More specifically, the effective transverse relaxation time T2* and its reciprocal (transverse relaxation rate) have been the main parameters used in previous studies because T2* is believed to be an indicator to some degree of trabecular architectural features. The present study addressed these same questions but a different protocol for imaging and specimen preparation has been used, and a larger number of specimens were tested.

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