Navigation Links
Learning from old bones to treat modern back pain

The bones of people who died up to a hundred years ago are being used in the development of new treatments for chronic back pain. It is the first time old bones have been used in this way.

The research is bringing together the unusual combination of latest computer modelling techniques developed at the University of Leeds, and archaeology and anthropology expertise at the University of Bristol.

With Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding, spines from up to 40 skeletons housed in museums and university anatomy collections are being analysed in the research.

The data generated, on different spine conditions and on how spines vary in size and shape, is playing a key role in the development of innovative computer models. This will enable the potential impact of new treatments and implant materials (such as keyhole spinal surgery and artificial disc replacements) to be evaluated before they are used on patients.

Ultimately, it will also be possible to use the models to pinpoint the type of treatment best suited to an individual patient.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said:

"Back pain is an extremely common condition, but everyone has a slightly different spine so developing new treatments can be a real challenge. This investment could significantly improve quality of life for millions of people around the world, so it's fantastic that the research is being carried out in the UK. It's also truly fascinating that old bones and very new technology can come together to deliver benefits for patients."

This is the first software of its kind designed for the treatment of back conditions. The research will also speed up the process of clinical trials for new treatments, which currently can take up to ten years.

The data provided by the old bones will be used to supplement similar data collected from bodies donated to science, which are limited in number and mainly come from older age groups.

"The idea is that a company will be able to come in with a design for a new product and we will simulate how it would work on different spines. The good thing about computer models is that we can use them over and over again, so we can test lots of different products on the same model", says Dr Ruth Wilcox, from the University of Leeds, who is leading the project. "If we were doing this in a laboratory we would need many new donated spines each time we wanted to test a treatment out".

This computer modelling breakthrough is possible thanks to recent advances in micro-CT (computed tomography) scanning, and to new techniques developed at the University of Leeds enabling data from micro-CT scans to be transformed into sophisticated computer models. Computed tomography (CT) scans use X-rays to build up 3-dimensional images from multiple cross-sectional pictures of body organs or tissues.

"The wider the pool of spinal data at our disposal, the more effective the computer models will be in terms of demonstrating the impact of treatments on different back conditions and back types," says Dr Kate Robson Brown from the University of Bristol's Archaeology and Anthropology Department. "The computer modelling software should be available for testing newly developed products and treatments in the next few years and along the way this cutting-edge research could even provide new insight into how our ancestors evolved!"


Contact: EPSRC Press Office
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Related medicine news :

1. Bilingual People More Adept at Learning Third Language
2. Learning causes structural changes in affected neurons
3. Better learning through handwriting
4. Learning the language of bacteria
5. Nicotine exposure in pregnant rats puts offspring at risk for learning disabilities
6. U of M researchers find learning in the visual brain
7. Children with high blood pressure more likely to have learning disabilities
8. Sleep Appears to Aid Learning
9. Could learning self-control be enjoyable?
10. Clinical trials can be improved by managing the learning curve
11. Adiposity hormone, leptin, regulates food intake by influencing learning and memory
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet ... product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural ... two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes ... important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX ... Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over ... Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for ... is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent ... that most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals ... also many of these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced ... Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" report to their offering. ... Smart Skin, Structural Health Monitoring, Composite Smart Structures, ... involves electronic and/or electrical components and circuits that ... such as vehicle bodies or conformally placed upon ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... According to a new market ... Needles, Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, ... of Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & Global Forecasts ... market for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. ... by 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in 2016, growing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets has ... - Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... for the patients with kidney failure, it replaces the function ... the patient,s blood and thus the treatment helps to keep ... in balance. Increasing number of ESRD patients ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: