A Clinical Evaluation of The BCA 10 Noninvasive Metabolism and Bone Density Analyzer

James A. McHale, D.C. Chief Clinical Researcher Atlantic Regional Osteoporosis Specialists, P.C. Philadelphia, PA USA Gettingdone65@yahoo.com 267-825-4126

All devices used for the evaluation of human performance must be assessed to determine the validity of their results. Factors such as accuracy, reproducibility, safety of the examiner and examinee, and reliability of data must be determined. In this study, we put the BCA-10 through its paces using that criteria. Twenty seven women and three men participated in this study. The device performed flawlessly in all areas.

For many years, the "gold standard" of determining bone density has been the D.E.X.A. (Dual emission x-ray absorptiometry) test. This quick, painless diagnostic test is essential to determine the status of bone density. D.E.X.A. uses t-scores and z-scores. Weak and brittle bones can lead to hip, arm, and spinal fractures. One of the drawbacks to using an x-ray device is that it generates ionizing radiation, and as a result-safety measures must be in place to shield body parts, and to protect the examiner from the effects of the ionizing radiation. BCA uses bioimpedence technology—NOT RADIATION to determine bone density. Bone mass is the total weight of bone tissue in pounds or kilograms. BCA charts the bone mass results in several ways:

  1. Visual representation of 1-5 bones. (1=low bone mass, 2=below average bone mass, 3=average bone mass, 4=above average bone mass, 5=high bone mass)

  2. Bone Mass Index scores using the 60-100 scale. (A score of 100+ is excellent, 80-100 is normal range, 70-80 may demonstrate increased risk/early stage osteopenia, 60-70 may represent a high risk for fracture.

  3. The clinician also has the ability to record bone mass in pounds/kilograms.
* The patients being tested seemed to relate to and understand the first two sets of data; they did not seem to understand the total bone mass in pounds or kilograms. However- that data is EXTREMELY useful for the clinician to assess slight changes in bone mass.

** Six of seven (86%) women who demonstrated low bone mass/index with the BCA-10 had been tested previously with DEXA testing through their physician, and had results in the ostoepenia/osteoporosis range.

*** 19 of the study participants were members of a popular women’s fitness center (Curves for Women). ONLY TWO OF THE 19 (11%) EVALUATED SHOWED ANY SIGNS OF BONE LOSS-AND THAT DATA SHOWED MILD, EARLY STAGE BONE LOSS (OSTEOPENIA). WEIGHT BEARING EXERCISE IS AN EXCELLENT WAY TO BUILD BONE MASS, INCREASE FLEXIBILITY,IMPROVE BALANCE AND COORDINATION, STRENGTHEN MUSCLES, TENDONS, AND LIGAMENTS. Studies show that people with good muscle strength, flexibility, and ligament and tendon stability have a much lower risk of fracturing a bone in the event of a fall.

****11 study participants were tested in a community health fair setting with 3 males and 8 female volunteers. None of the males showed any signs of bone loss. Four of the eight females (50%) showed bone loss; 3 with early stage/osteopenia, and one person demonstrated results in the osteoporosis range. ALL TEST VOLUNTEERS WERE INSTRUCTED TO DISCUSS THE RESULTS WITH THEIR PHYSICIAN FOR FURTHER BONE DENSITY EVALUATION.

Obesity in the United States is linked to a number of health problems. It can lead to diabetes, heart disease, vascular disease, stroke, cancer, joint disorders, and a myriad of other diseases. Besides body weight, other criteria need to be evaluated to identify exactly who is obese, and to what extent are they overweight or underweight (body composition). The BCA 10 requires data from your personal profile to accurately measure your "body composition".
  1. Age
  2. Sex
  3. Height
  4. Weight
  5. Wrist size-in inches (a soft, flexible tape measure is provided)
After following the measuring sequence, this data is made available:

A. Total body water or hydration is the weight of your body water in % and pounds. Results are displayed graphically (1-5 cups; below average hydration to overhydration) *Average body water for an adult is 60%, for children 80%.

B. Body water weight (in pounds or kilograms)

C. Hydration chart which shows your ratio of weight to body water.

* 12 of 30 participants (40%) were at least 5% dehydrated!

** Studies show that just a 3% decrease in body water (hydration) can result in a 20% decrease in muscle strength/energy level.

D. Body Fat % is the amount of body fat compared to total body weight. The ideal range for males: 14% to 24%. For females: 18% to 31%. The BCA not only gives your actual results, but also shows how far from ideal you are (Overweight- on target-or underweight). *Offset from ideal fat %. Most people did not understand their results initially—but this additional data helped clarify their status. For example; if a man is told his body fat is 28% he may not comprehend that fully. But, by also explaining that he is 4% higher than the upper limits of his body fat range, he understood the results. Also, they responded favorably to the phrasing that they were "only 10% higher than expected", as opposed to telling someone her body fat is 41%.

E. Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories (kcal) our bodies burn at rest to maintain normal body functions.

* This information generated the most excitement among test volunteers. All 30 test subjects (100%) knew what metabolism meant, but not a single person (0%) had been tested and made aware of their metabolic rate.

** Even people who were actively involved in weight loss and exercise programs were guessing at the total number of calories to consume!

Note: If we consume (eat or drink) more calories than we burn, we store the excess as fat. If we consume the same number of calories as we burn, our weight stays the same. If we consume FEWER calories than we burn, we burn fat stores as energy, and LOSE WEIGHT.

*** The data provided by the BCA was well received by test subjects. Twenty three of the 30 tested (77%) related to me that they were "finally able to develop a calorie intake program based on real results, as opposed to guessing".

**** Basal metabolic rate was evaluated in 5 women before they began their thirty minute exercise circuit. The circuit incorporates resistance training with cardiovascular training simultaneously. Upon completion of the circuit training session, basal metabolic rate was retested. ALL FIVE WOMEN (100%) INCREASED THEIR METABOLIC RATE AN OVERALL AVERAGE OF 23 CALORIES (RANGE 12-45 CALORIES). Studies show that this increased metabolic rate can remain elevated for up to 72 hours after exercising.

F. Body Type Graph-along with your fat%, you can view a graph that classifies your body type based on the ratio of fat to total weight.

G. Muscle Mass is the total weight of muscle tissue in our bodies (in pounds or kilograms). Muscle tissue increases metabolic rate, allowing us to burn the calories we consume. Graphic representation is catchy---a flexed bicep is coupled with a digital display of how many pounds of muscle make up total body weight. A graph is included to show how many pounds of muscle you need to increase to achieve optimum metabolism.

*People were surprised to realize that they have so much muscle tissue. For example, a 300 pound woman may have approximately 180 pounds of lean weight (muscle, tendon, ligament, bone, water). She is amazed to learn that only 120 pounds of her 300 pound frame is fat (40%). The muscle mass is elevated to support her larger frame. As a result of that increase in muscle mass, her metabolic rate is very high (around 3,000) calories.

Discussion: The performance of the BCA 10 was quite impressive. The unit provided accurate and reproducible data. The device is safe and easy to operate, with reliable performance. Results were offered in several ways; visual/graphic representation (pictures), numeric values, and percentages. This variety of data made for easier understanding by the test subject, but also allowed for statistical analysis on the part of the clinician. Computer interface is available for larger studies, and more indepth data evaluation.

Conclusion: Health professionals can develop or expand their patient/client base by offering noninvasive bone density/metabolism/body composition testing with the BCA 10. The reliable, accurate, affordable device receives 5 stars for its outstanding performance.