Body Composition Analysis

I was surprised to see the granularity of this body scan that was posted on twitter:

So naturally I asked about it:

I had not heard of this before - very interesting. Its a Swedish company that I guess licenses its software to clinics around the world to provide the service, based off standard MRI scans.

Image analysis software developer AMRA Medical hopes to take body fat analysis beyond the measurement of body mass index (BMI) with an application that analyzes MRI scans to assess health risk, according to a presentation on Tuesday at the Digital Medicine & Medtech (DigiMed) Showcase.

AMRA’s software is designed to analyze MRI scans and characterize an individual’s body fat, which can be a marker for future health risks and a variety of clinical conditions based on its location and composition, according to Eric Converse, AMRA’s CEO. Converse gave the talk at DigiMed, which is a side meeting to the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

While a person’s degree of body fat – based on measures such as BMI – has generally been acknowledged as a marker of health risk, only recently have clinicians learned that the type of fat and its location can change the risk for different conditions.

AMRA’s Profiler protocol functions on standard MRI scanners, and it enables users to perform body fat composition analysis in scans that can be as short as six minutes. It also can work with MRI scout scans, Converse said.

In this case - the actual service was provided by Q.bio, a company based in Redwood City, (between Palo Alto and San Francisco in the Bay Area).

From Q.Bio:

overview of our Q Exam and membership; the cost is $3,495 per exam

Our standard exam includes blood, urine, and saliva sample collection for laboratory analysis, as well as a non-invasive, whole body MRI and vital signs measurement.

Related Research:

Q Bio.pdf (8.4 MB)

You can do just fine with a $20-40 DEXA scan at an academic center for body composition and estimated visceral fat.

Please tell me if I’m missing something, but I don’t see the point if you’re trying to get slightly more granular than the “gold standard” of body composition analysis that is 100-200x cheaper.

I already have decent compartment-based estimates of my leg, torso, and arm lean mass on a DEXA.

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Yes - I’m not saying its worth the money, but I do like the granularity just to know how your workout program is affecting your body over time.

I’ve not yet done DEXA, but I will this year. I had not seen any DEXA results comparable to the results above, but perhaps you can get something similar.

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Well if it helps, try looking for a trial or study at an academic center.

They usually will pay you to join their exercise physiology study and they will cover a lot of things before and after, including DEXA, VO2 max, and RMR.

I suspect you can track how well you’re doing sufficiently with very low-cost tools - 1RM/training volume, tape measurement of the muscle along with professional fat calipers, and calibrated algorithmic estimates.

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