New algorithm could highlight strains before injury

27 August 2014

A team at the Washington University, St Louis, USA, has developed a new technology that is able to spot weak areas in muscles, tendons or bones before a major injury occurs. It is hoped this method could be used to highlight vulnerable areas and could even prevent injuries happening in the future.

John Boyle, a graduate student in biomedical engineering and the paper's first author, combined mechanical engineering fundamentals with image-analysis techniques to create the algorithms. One of these formulas was found to be 1,000-times more accurate at diagnosing weak spots than the current method.

The research, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, created a way to be able to visualise where tissues had been weakened by stretching tissues and monitoring what happened as the shape of them changed.

One experiment involved Mr Boyle spraying a series of dots onto plastic wrap and then analysing what happened to the pattern as it was stretched.

Although the method has proved to be successful and accurate, clear images of tissues would be needed to bring the treatment to patients as MRI and ultrasound lack the necessary clarity. 

Posted by Philip Briggs​


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