Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Moving X-rays to revolutionise the diagnosis of back pain

24.03.2003


A new image processing system devised by engineers at the University of Southampton could change the way that back problems are diagnosed and provide a solution to one of the most common causes of work loss in the UK.


A ’solid model’ of the human lumbar spine



Low back pain is a significant problem and its cost to society is enormous. However, diagnosis of the underlying causes remains problematic despite extensive study. Reasons for this arise from the deep-rooted situation of the spine and also from its structural complexity.

Professor Robert Allen and his team in the Signal Processing & Control Group in the University’s Institute of Sound & Vibration Research are working with colleagues at the University’s Electronics & Computer Science department, The Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, and Salisbury Hospital, to develop a way of X-raying individuals while they are moving, a technique which they believe will improve the diagnosis of back problems by enabling clinicians to quantify how the spine is moving.


‘Up to now, clinicians have frequently used plain X-rays to diagnose back problems,’ comments Professor Allen. ‘These X-rays can only tell you about the spine in a static position, but if we X-ray as the person moves using very low dose radiation, we can see how the spine is moving and with image processing techniques, we can quantify the movement. Since back pain is often caused by soft tissue damage and not damage to the bones themselves, abnormal motion of the vertebrae may help us to locate the source of the problem.’

Their approach is based on automatically identifying vertebrae from the motion image sequences, calculating how each vertebrae moves and coupling this information with a dynamic 3-D lumbar spine visualisation. The traditional approach has been for clinicians to take 2-D images and to form a 3-D impression by mentally transforming these images. Three-dimensional visualisation of the lumbar spine can allow clinicians to observe the lumbar spine from different viewpoints and angles and may be helpful in understanding, diagnosing and treating back pain problems.

Their next challenge is to establish what ‘normal’ movement looks like so that they are in a position to recognise abnormalities.

Sarah Watts | alfa

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>