Biological and Experience-based Trajectories in Adolescent brain and cognitive development

Methods /

Bone age radiology

The time period between a person’s birth and a certain date is called chronological age. In itself, chronological age doesn’t provide much information about a child’s level of maturity. Most people know that the degree of maturity doesn’t always match our expectations based on chronological age. The many indicators that are used in the exploration of the biological developmental process in children show that chronological age and biological maturity do not necessarily overlap. Differences already present in childhood become even more apparent in adolescence. Modern biological age assessments might help to see individual differences in terms of maturity better then before.

There are several types of biological age. In the current study we use bone age radiology to determine biological age. Bone age gives us information about the maturity level of the skeletal system. WE leran about the presence of the ossification centers, the form of the bones, and the scale of ossification of the forearm bones. 

Through referencing bone age to baselines it can be determined whether a child’s bone development is more or less advanced (or the same) than the bone age of their age group. 

We perform bone age radiology with an ultrasound instrument called Sunlight BonAge. The ultrasound waves go through the left wrist, since this part of the arm is small enough to give information about the ossification level of several bones. 

As shown in the pictures, the left forearm goes into the blue part of the instrument with the palm facing down. Throughout the process the arm doesn’t move. The instrument joins the distal part of the arm with an ultrasound gel. Bone age is determined with 5 examinations, each taking a couple of seconds. 

Bone age radiology can also be used to estimate what a child’s final height is going to be. For that, we only need the following information: the child’s sex, some body measurements, bone age, and the height of the parents. The expected height could be an important factor in deciding which sport(s) the child should do.