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Researchers study knee stress at tissue, cellular levels
Date:7/24/2012

A Cleveland Clinic research team is developing virtual models of human knee joints to better understand how tissues and their individual cells react to heavy loads virtual models that someday can be used to understand damage mechanisms caused by the aging process or by debilitating diseases, such as osteoarthritis.

Led by Ahmet Erdemir, Ph.D., the team is leveraging the powerful computing systems of the Ohio Supercomputer Center to develop state-of-the-art computational representations of the human body to understand how movement patterns and loads on the joints deform the surrounding tissues and cells. Erdemir is the director of the Computational Biomodeling Core (CoBi) and a faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Lerner Research Institute (LRI) in Cleveland, Ohio.

"The aging process and debilitating diseases affect many aspects of the mechanical function of the human body: from the way we move to how our muscles, joints, tissues, and cells accommodate the loading exerted on the body during daily activities," Erdemir explained. "Computational modeling techniques provide an avenue to obtain additional insights about mechanics at various spatial scales."

Many macro-scale studies have looked at how the various components of a knee joint cartilage, menisci, ligaments and bone respond to weight and other external loads. However, Erdemir and colleague Scott C. Sibole wanted to better understand how those large mechanical forces correspond to the related deformation of individual cartilage cells or chondrocytes within the knee. Previous micro-scale studies of cartilage have not commonly been based on data from body-level scales, in particular, by the musculoskeletal mechanics of the knee joint.

In addition, calculated deformations typically have been for a single cell at the center of a 100-cubic-micrometer block of simulated tissue; Erdemir used an anatomically based representation that calculated
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Contact: Jamie Abel
jabel@oh-tech.org
614-292-6495
Ohio Supercomputer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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