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 Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex
21.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung

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: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>