Hologic is adding some interesting new functionality to its Discovery DXA system, which was up till now primarily used to assess bone mineral density in patients with osteoporosis. It has received FDA clearance to incorporate the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Whole Body Reference Data for use for advanced body composition assessment. This provides a way to measure contributions of fat, lean tissue and bone to total body mass in a more accurate way than traditional methods such as bio-impedance testing, hydrostatic weighing and skin fold thickness measurements. With the continuing obesity epidemic in full swing, this is no doubt an attractive new market for Hologic. From the press release:
The Hologic Advanced Body Composition assessment package is designed to provide a quick, accurate and precise low-dose x-ray exam to aid the physician in the assessment of fat, lean tissue and bone. Some of the diseases and conditions for which body composition values are useful include chronic renal failure, anorexia nervosa, obesity, AIDS/HIV, and cystic fibrosis. A whole body composition scan can take as little as three minutes. During the exam, the patient lies comfortably on a padded table while the Discovery system scans the body. Unlike typical x-ray machines, radiation exposure during this exam is extremely low and involves no injections, invasive procedures or pain. Hologic’s new assessment package includes color images displaying the distribution of fat, lean tissue, and bone and an easy to interpret report for improved patient management and counseling.