New tool enhances view of muscles

January 23, 2012, Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University associate professor James Wakeling is adding to the arsenal of increasingly sophisticated medical imaging tools with a new signal-processing method for viewing muscle activation details that have never been seen before.

Fascinated with the mechanics of in people and animals, Wakeling has developed a novel method using , 3D motion-capture technology and proprietary data-processing software to scan and capture 3D maps of the — in just 90 seconds.

It’s a breakthrough because previous methods took 15 minutes to do the job—far too long to ask people to hold a muscle contraction.

The key to the breakthrough is the way the software processes the data, says Wakeling, who teaches in SFU’s department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology. He developed the software with graduate student Manku Rana.

“Now, we can get people to do muscle contractions and we can actually see how the internal structure of the muscle changes,” he says.

Wakeling’s goal is to improve the muscle models used in musculoskeletal simulation software that predicts how people move and the forces on their joints.

Current packages are missing important information about muscle contraction, such as how the muscle shape changes, how it bulges, or how the internal muscle fibres become more curved—all details that Wakeling’s technology can capture.

Wakeling hopes his research will ultimately lead to new software programs for predicting the outcome of orthopaedic surgeries such as tendon-transfers for treating conditions like cerebral palsy in children.

“We’re poised to start making new observations and insights,” he says, “and to do new experiments that haven’t been possible before.”

Explore further: Neuroscientists explore how longstanding conflict influences empathy for others

Related Stories

Neuroscientists explore how longstanding conflict influences empathy for others

January 23, 2012
MIT postdoc Emile Bruneau has long been drawn to conflict — not as a participant, but an observer. In 1994, while doing volunteer work in South Africa, he witnessed firsthand the turmoil surrounding the fall of apartheid; ...

Recommended for you

Secrets of longevity protein revealed in new study

January 17, 2018
Named after the Greek goddess who spun the thread of life, Klotho proteins play an important role in the regulation of longevity and metabolism. In a recent Yale-led study, researchers revealed the three-dimensional structure ...

Weight flux alters molecular profile, study finds

January 17, 2018
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The HLF gene protects blood stem cells by maintaining them in a resting state

January 17, 2018
The HLF gene is necessary for maintaining blood stem cells in a resting state, which is crucial for ensuring normal blood production. This has been shown by a new research study from Lund University in Sweden published in ...

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation

January 17, 2018
Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. As a growing concern, researchers look to new tools to help patients with this side effect of opioid use and aging.

Researchers devise decoy molecule to block pain where it starts

January 16, 2018
For anyone who has accidentally injured themselves, Dr. Zachary Campbell not only sympathizes, he's developing new ways to blunt pain.

Scientists unleash power of genetic data to identify disease risk

January 16, 2018
Massive banks of genetic information are being harnessed to shed new light on modifiable health risks that underlie common diseases.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.