Their findings could someday lead to early detection and prevention of debilitating conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis.
The new study from Temple University senior researchers Ann Barr and Mary Barbe and their doctoral student, Stephen Carp, in the March issue of Clinical Science, found that the immune system pumps out biomarkers (different kinds of chemicals) as the body begins to become injured by repetitive motions. These biomarkers warn of an underlying problem.
“While not a diagnostic test, because the biomarkers could also indicate another type of injury, they do provide a red flag where before there was none,” said Barr, associate professor of physical therapy at Temple’s College of Health Professions.
Currently, healthcare providers can diagnose repetitive motion injuries (RMI) based only on physical examination findings and the symptoms reported by the patient.
Typically, RMI sufferers don’t experience symptoms of pain until the damage has begun. So the researchers’ main goal has been finding a means to detect the problem before the damage starts. That way, conservative intervention — ibuprofen, rest breaks at work, exercise — can be evaluated as to their effectiveness in preventing the development of chronic work-related conditions and, consequently, the need for more serious measures such as surgery.
“If the injury to the tissues can be halted, then hopefully long-term damage and impairment can be avoided,” said Barbe, also an associate professor of physical therapy.
Employers and workers know the dramatic impact of RMIs, which cause pain, loss of function and close to a third of missed workdays in the United States, at a cost of $20 billion a year in workers’ compensation.
In previous studies, the researchers pinpointed these early warning signals in a rat model of RMI. The current study is the first to identify the warning signals in humans.
For the study, they recruited 22 participants who were suffering from repetitive-stress injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and other wrist and shoulder injuries, and nine healthy subjects. After a physical examination that rated the severity of symptoms ranging from pain to range of motion, participants were given blood tests for evidence of biomarkers.
“The blood tests revealed significant levels of several types of inflammatory mediators — biomarkers — which signaled an underlying problem,” said Barr. “Also, the more severe the injury, the more biomarkers there were.”
Future research by the team will look deeper into the potential of biomarkers as indicators of injury and recovery.
Eryn Jelesiewicz | EurekAlert!
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy