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Table 3 Associations and difference in diagnostic accuracy between disc height and ‘LBP year’ at different thresholds and ages. Associations are expressed as odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) obtained from logistic regression analyses adjusted for body mass index. The probability of no difference in Area Under Curves (AUC) between Thresholds 1, 2 and 3 is reported as p-values from chi square tests. More details are given in Additional File 5

From: An exploratory study of different definitions and thresholds for lumbar disc degeneration assessed by MRI and their associations with low back pain using data from a cohort study of a general population

Disc height at 41 YearsThreshold 1: ≥ grade 1
(n = 319) (77.99%)
OR (95% CI)
Threshold 2: ≥ grade 2
(n = 218) (53.30%)
OR (95% CI)
Threshold 3: = grade 3
(n = 12) (2.93%)
OR (95% CI)
AUC comparison (p-value)
All participants (n = 409)1.44 (0.89;2.35)2.53 (1.64;3.90)*2.29 (0.49;10.63)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.004*
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.006*
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.760
 Men (n = 197)2.14 (1.02;4.49)*3.96 (2.11;7.43)*1.82 (0.20;16.80)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.001*
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.000*
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.121
 Women (n = 210)1.09 (0.55;2.14)1.73 (0.94;3.18)2.12 (0.24;18.55)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.001*
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.004*
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.586
 Upper lumbar spine (n = 409)1.44 (0.88;2.36)3.68 (1.62;8.38)*AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.097
 Lower lumbar spine (n = 409)1.49 (0.94;2.38)2.31 (1.49;3.57)*2.00 (0.42;9.42)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.019
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.01*
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.519
Disc height at 45 YearsThreshold 1: ≥ grade 1
(n = 237) (69.50%)
OR (95% CI)
Threshold 2: ≥ grade 2
(n = 168) (49.27%)
OR (95% CI)
Threshold 3: = grade 3
(n = 14) (4.11%)
OR (95% CI)
AUC comparison (p-value)
All participants (n = 341)1.05 (0.64;1,74)0.97 (0.61;1,55)0.43 (0.15;1.26)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.724
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.296
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.275
 Men (n = 160)1.53 (0.73;3.21)1.17 (0.59;2.29)1.13 (0.21;6.09)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.725
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.954
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.795
 Women (n = 181)0.77 (0.39;1.55)0.83 (0.43;1.58)0.16 (0.03;0.87)*AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.929
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.441
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.540
 Upper lumbar spine (n = 341)1.51 (0.86;2.64)1.94 (0.93;4.06)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.735
 Lower lumbar spine (n = 341)0.99 (0.62;1.60)0.96 (0.60;1.54)0.43 (0.15;1.26)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.896
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.284
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.302
Disc height at 49 YearsThreshold 1: ≥ grade 1
(n = 238) (84.40%)
OR (95% CI)
Threshold 2: ≥ grade 2
(n = 187) (66.31%)
OR (95% CI)
Threshold 3: = grade 3
(n = 29) (10.28%)
OR (95% CI)
AUC comparison (p-value)
All participants (n = 282)2.49 (1.28;4.85)*1.84 (1.08;3.13)*0.89 (0.38;2.06)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.995
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.134
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.070
 Men (n = 132)3.22 (1.27;8.16)*2.20 (1.04;4.64)*1.73 (0.51;5.84)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.864
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.046*
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.019*
 Women (n = 150)1.69 (0.61;4.68)1.57 (0.72;3.42)0.44 (0.13;1.48)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.876
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.081
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.074
 Upper lumbar spine (n = 282)3.69 (2.00;6.81)*4.77 (2.17;10.49)*AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.448
 Lower lumbar spine (n = 282)1.74 (0.95;3.17)1.50 (0.89;2.52)0.89 (0.38;2.10)AUC T1 = AUC T2: 0.971
AUC T2 = AUC T3: 0.233
AUC T1 = AUC T3: 0.202
  1. * = P-value < 0.05
  2. -No participants with or without LDD at this threshold