ResearchPad - stiffness https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[How global DNA unwinding causes non-uniform stress distribution and melting of DNA]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14712 DNA unwinding is an important process that controls binding of proteins, gene expression and melting of double-stranded DNA. In a series of all-atom MD simulations on two DNA molecules containing a transcription start TATA-box sequence we demonstrate that application of a global restraint on the DNA twisting dramatically changes the coupling between helical parameters and the distribution of deformation energy along the sequence. Whereas only short range nearest-neighbor coupling is observed in the relaxed case, long-range coupling is induced in the globally restrained case. With increased overall unwinding the elastic deformation energy is strongly non-uniformly distributed resulting ultimately in a local melting transition of only the TATA box segment during the simulations. The deformation energy tends to be stored more in cytidine/guanine rich regions associated with a change in conformational substate distribution. Upon TATA box melting the deformation energy is largely absorbed by the melting bubble with the rest of the sequences relaxing back to near B-form. The simulations allow us to characterize the structural changes and the propagation of the elastic energy but also to calculate the associated free energy change upon DNA unwinding up to DNA melting. Finally, we design an Ising model for predicting the local melting transition based on empirical parameters. The direct comparison with the atomistic MD simulations indicates a remarkably good agreement for the predicted necessary torsional stress to induce a melting transition, for the position and length of the melted region and for the calculated associated free energy change between both approaches.

]]>
<![CDATA[Monitoring of cardiovascular physiology augmented by a patient-specific biomechanical model during general anesthesia. A proof of concept study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14629 During general anesthesia (GA), direct analysis of arterial pressure or aortic flow waveforms may be inconclusive in complex situations. Patient-specific biomechanical models, based on data obtained during GA and capable to perform fast simulations of cardiac cycles, have the potential to augment hemodynamic monitoring. Such models allow to simulate Pressure-Volume (PV) loops and estimate functional indicators of cardiovascular (CV) system, e.g. ventricular-arterial coupling (Vva), cardiac efficiency (CE) or myocardial contractility, evolving throughout GA. In this prospective observational study, we created patient-specific biomechanical models of heart and vasculature of a reduced geometric complexity for n = 45 patients undergoing GA, while using transthoracic echocardiography and aortic pressure and flow signals acquired in the beginning of GA (baseline condition). If intraoperative hypotension (IOH) appeared, diluted norepinephrine (NOR) was administered and the model readjusted according to the measured aortic pressure and flow signals. Such patients were a posteriori assigned into a so-called hypotensive group. The accuracy of simulated mean aortic pressure (MAP) and stroke volume (SV) at baseline were in accordance with the guidelines for the validation of new devices or reference measurement methods in all patients. After NOR administration in the hypotensive group, the percentage of concordance with 10% exclusion zone between measurement and simulation was >95% for both MAP and SV. The modeling results showed a decreased Vva (0.64±0.37 vs 0.88±0.43; p = 0.039) and an increased CE (0.8±0.1 vs 0.73±0.11; p = 0.042) in hypotensive vs normotensive patients. Furthermore, Vva increased by 92±101%, CE decreased by 13±11% (p < 0.001 for both) and contractility increased by 14±11% (p = 0.002) in the hypotensive group post-NOR administration. In this work we demonstrated the application of fast-running patient-specific biophysical models to estimate PV loops and functional indicators of CV system using clinical data available during GA. The work paves the way for model-augmented hemodynamic monitoring at operating theatres or intensive care units to enhance the information on patient-specific physiology.

]]>
<![CDATA[A practical 3D-printed soft robotic prosthetic hand with multi-articulating capabilities]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14594 Soft robotic hands with monolithic structure have shown great potential to be used as prostheses due to their advantages to yield light weight and compact designs as well as its ease of manufacture. However, existing soft prosthetic hands design were often not geared towards addressing some of the practical requirements highlighted in prosthetics research. The gap between the existing designs and the practical requirements significantly hampers the potential to transfer these designs to real-world applications. This work addressed these requirements with the consideration of the trade-off between practicality and performance. These requirements were achieved through exploiting the monolithic 3D printing of soft materials which incorporates membrane enclosed flexure joints in the finger designs, synergy-based thumb motion and cable-driven actuation system in the proposed hand prosthesis. Our systematic design (tentatively named X-Limb) achieves a weight of 253gr, three grasps types (with capability of individual finger movement), power-grip force of 21.5N, finger flexion speed of 1.3sec, a minimum grasping cycles of 45,000 (while maintaining its original functionality) and a bill of material cost of 200 USD (excluding quick disconnect wrist but without factoring in the cost reduction through mass production). A standard Activities Measure for Upper-Limb Amputees benchmark test was carried out to evaluate the capability of X-Limb in performing grasping task required for activities of daily living. The results show that all the practical design requirements are satisfied, and the proposed soft prosthetic hand is able to perform all the real-world grasping tasks of the benchmark tests, showing great potential in improving life quality of individuals with upper limb loss.

]]>
<![CDATA[Exploring non-assembly 3D printing for novel compliant surgical devices]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14586 In minimally invasive surgery, maneuverability is usually limited and a large number of degrees of freedom (DOF) is highly demanded. However, increasing the DOF usually means increasing the complexity of the surgical instrument leading to long fabrication and assembly times. In this work, we propose the first fully 3D printed handheld, multi-steerable device. The proposed device is mechanically actuated, and possesses five serially controlled segments. We designed a new compliant segment providing high torsion and axial stiffness as well as a low bending stiffness by merging the functions of four helicoids and a continuum backbone. Compliant segments were combined to form the compliant shaft of the new device. In order to control this compliant shaft, a control handle was designed that mimics the shaft structure. A prototype called the HelicoFlex was built using only three 3D printed parts. HelicoFlex, with its 10 degrees of freedom, showed a fluid motion in performing single and multi-curved paths. The multi-steerable instrument was 3D printed without any support material in the compliant shaft itself. This work contributes to enlarge the body of knowledge regarding how additive manufacturing could be used in the production of multi-steerable surgical instruments for personalized medicine.

]]>
<![CDATA[Assessing the effects of intratendinous genipin injections: Mechanical augmentation and spatial distribution in an ex vivo degenerative tendon model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N537496c4-2c39-41e6-9ca3-002a318b88b6

Background

Tendinopathy is a common musculoskeletal disorder and current treatment options show limited success. Genipin is an effective collagen crosslinker with low cytotoxicity and a promising therapeutic strategy for stabilizing an intratendinous lesion.

Purpose

This study examined the mechanical effect and delivery of intratendinous genipin injection in healthy and degenerated tendons.

Study design

Controlled laboratory study

Methods

Bovine superficial digital flexor tendons were randomized into four groups: Healthy control (N = 25), healthy genipin (N = 25), degenerated control (N = 45) and degenerated genipin (N = 45). Degeneration was induced by Collagenase D injection. After 24h, degenerated tendons were subsequently injected with either 0.2ml of 80mM genipin or buffer only. 24h post-treatment, samples were cyclically loaded for 500 cycles and then ramp loaded to failure. Fluorescence and absorption assays were performed to analyze genipin crosslink distribution and estimate tissue concentration after injection.

Results

Compared to controls, genipin treatment increased ultimate force by 19% in degenerated tendons (median control 530 N vs. 633 N; p = 0.0078). No significant differences in mechanical properties were observed in healthy tendons, while degenerated tendons showed a significant difference in ultimate stress (+23%, p = 0.049), stiffness (+27%, p = 0.037), work to failure (+42%, p = 0.009), and relative stress relaxation (-11%, p < 0.001) after genipin injection. Fluorescence and absorption were significantly higher in genipin treated tendons compared to control groups. A higher degree of crosslinking (+45%, p < 0.001) and a more localized distribution were observed in the treated healthy compared to degenerated tendons, with higher genipin tissue concentrations in healthy (7.9 mM) than in degenerated tissue (2.3 mM).

Conclusion

Using an ex-vivo tendinopathy model, intratendinous genipin injections recovered mechanical strength to the level of healthy tendons. Measured by genipin tissue distribution, injection is an effective method for local delivery.

Clinical relevance

This study provides a proof of concept for the use of intratendinous genipin injection in the treatment of tendinopathy. The results demonstrate that a degenerated tendon can be mechanically augmented by a clinically viable method of local genipin delivery. This warrants further in vivo studies towards the development of a clinically applicable treatment based on genipin.

]]>
<![CDATA[Associations of Retinal Microvascular Diameters and Tortuosity With Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N41b027fe-eb2d-4ba8-902c-b34624a4dfaa

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

]]>
<![CDATA[A new finite element based parameter to predict bone fracture]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N73efbb2c-4546-457e-9797-023764c15f47

Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) is currently the most widely adopted non-invasive clinical technique to assess bone mineral density and bone mineral content in human research and represents the primary tool for the diagnosis of osteoporosis. DXA measures areal bone mineral density, BMD, which does not account for the three-dimensional structure of the vertebrae and for the distribution of bone mass. The result is that longitudinal DXA can only predict about 70% of vertebral fractures. This study proposes a complementary tool, based on Finite Element (FE) models, to improve the DXA accuracy. Bone is simulated as elastic and inhomogeneous material, with stiffness distribution derived from DXA greyscale images of density. The numerical procedure simulates a compressive load on each vertebra to evaluate the local minimum principal strain values. From these values, both the local average and the maximum strains are computed over the cross sections and along the height of the analysed bone region, to provide a parameter, named Strain Index of Bone (SIB), which could be considered as a bone fragility index. The procedure is initially validated on 33 cylindrical trabecular bone samples obtained from porcine lumbar vertebrae, experimentally tested under static compressive loading. Comparing the experimental mechanical parameters with the SIB, we could find a higher correlation of the ultimate stress, σULT, with the SIB values (R2adj = 0.63) than that observed with the conventional DXA-based clinical parameters, i.e. Bone Mineral Density, BMD (R2adj = 0.34) and Trabecular Bone Score, TBS (R2adj = -0.03). The paper finally presents a few case studies of numerical simulations carried out on human lumbar vertebrae. If our results are confirmed in prospective studies, SIB could be used—together with BMD and TBS—to improve the fracture risk assessment and support the clinical decision to assume specific drugs for metabolic bone diseases.

]]>
<![CDATA[Probabilistic analysis of a concrete column in an aggressive soil environment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acce9d5eed0c4849902cb

Sulphate attack is one of the most important factors that limit the lifetime of pure concrete constructions. Harsh environmental conditions have a large impact on the operational costs of concrete columns or piles dipped into soil. The results are non-deterministic; therefore, reliability analysis is often used. The strength characteristics of the substrate around the construction were modelled as one-dimensional prismatic beams related with random p-y curves. Sulphate deterioration is defined as a set of random variables jointed with two dimensional mechanical systems at acceptable levels. Fick’s second law describes the penetration of sulphate ingress into pure concrete with explicit numerical solutions for boundary conditions and an increase in the transition factor under the progress of sulphate ingress. This process was partially solved via analytical methods for sulphate ion transport and numerically for a random field. This solves the mechanical task and determines the system reliability. A numerical example is provided to illustrate the proposed method to prevent unexpected structural failures during column service life. The proposed methodology can assist designers and can help to make decisions on existing foundations to ensure the safety of geotechnical construction.

]]>
<![CDATA[In-silico pre-clinical trials are made possible by a new simple and comprehensive lumbar belt mechanical model based on the Law of Laplace including support deformation and adhesion effects]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89779ad5eed0c4847d3130

Lower back pain is a major public health problem. Despite claims that lumbar belts change spinal posture due to applied pressure on the trunk, no mechanical model has yet been published to prove this treatment. This paper describes a first model for belt design, based on the one hand on the mechanical properties of the fabrics and the belt geometry, and on the other hand on the trunk geometrical and mechanical description. The model provides the estimation of the pressure applied to the trunk, and a unique indicator of the belt mechanical efficiency is proposed: pressure is integrated into a bending moment characterizing the belt delordosing action on the spine. A first in-silico clinical study of belt efficiency for 15 patients with 2 different belts was conducted. Results are very dependent on the body shape: in the case of high BMI patients, the belt effect is significantly decreased, and can be even inverted, increasing the lordosis. The belt stiffness proportionally increases the pressure applied to the trunk, but the influence of the design itself on the bending moment is clearly outlined. Moreover, the belt/trunk interaction, modeled as sticking contact and the specific way patients lock their belts, dramatically modifies the belt action. Finally, even if further developments and tests are still necessary, the model presented in this paper seems suitable for in-silico pre-clinical trials on real body shapes at a design stage.

]]>
<![CDATA[Postural control of a musculoskeletal model against multidirectional support surface translations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897754d5eed0c4847d2a0a

The human body is a complex system driven by hundreds of muscles, and its control mechanisms are not sufficiently understood. To understand the mechanisms of human postural control, neural controller models have been proposed by different research groups, including our feed-forward and feedback control model. However, these models have been evaluated under forward and backward perturbations, at most. Because a human body experiences perturbations from many different directions in daily life, neural controller models should be evaluated in response to multidirectional perturbations, including in the forward/backward, lateral, and diagonal directions. The objective of this study was to investigate the validity of an NC model with FF and FB control under multidirectional perturbations. We developed a musculoskeletal model with 70 muscles and 15 degrees of freedom of joints, positioned it in a standing posture by using the neural controller model, and translated its support surface in multiple directions as perturbations. We successfully determined the parameters of the neural controller model required to maintain the stance of the musculoskeletal model for each perturbation direction. The trends in muscle response magnitudes and the magnitude of passive ankle stiffness were consistent with the results of experimental studies. We conclude that the neural controller model can adapt to multidirectional perturbations by generating suitable muscle activations. We anticipate that the neural controller model could be applied to the study of the control mechanisms of patients with torso tilt and diagnosis of the change in control mechanisms from patients’ behaviors.

]]>
<![CDATA[Morphological and mechanical properties of the human triceps surae aponeuroses taken from elderly cadavers: Implications for muscle-tendon interactions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730e1d5eed0c484f3829d

The human triceps surae (two gastrocnemii and soleus) has aponeuroses in the proximal and distal aspects, the latter of which insert into the calcaneus by sharing the common Achilles tendon. These tendinous tissues are known to have elasticity and upon muscle contraction the aponeurosis is stretched both longitudinally (along the muscle’s line of action) and transversely. Higher aponeurosis transverse deformability has been documented, but there is a paucity of information on the morphology and mechanical properties of human aponeurosis. This study aimed to identify morphological and mechanical characteristics of the human triceps surae aponeuroses. Twenty-five triceps surae muscle-tendon units were procured from 13 human donors (formalin fixed, 6 males, 7 females) aged 67–91 years. Specimens of aponeuroses were excised from the eight regions (posterior and anterior regions of the gastrocnemius medialis and lateralis, medial and lateral parts of soleus; proximal, middle, and distal sites each, 2–4 cm × 2–4 cm). Aponeurosis thickness was measured using a digital caliper. Uniaxial tensile tests were implemented to determine the mechanical properties of specimens loaded longitudinally (along the muscle’s line of action) and transversely. The aponeurosis thickness showed significant differences between muscles and sites, while Young’s modulus showed direction-dependent (longitudinal vs. transverse) differences within sites. Results show different morphology and mechanical properties of aponeuroses between synergist muscles. The reason for site-dependent differences in stiffness is due to a reduced aponeurosis thickness rather than a reduction in the material property. The anisotropic elastic feature (differences between longitudinal and transverse directions) of the aponeuroses was more pronounced than previous in vivo findings, suggesting inherent material design of the aponeurosis that matches three-dimensional contractile behavior of muscle fibers.

]]>
<![CDATA[The stability of long-segment and short-segment fixation for treating severe burst fractures at the thoracolumbar junction in osteoporotic bone: A finite element analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8dbd5eed0c48496f278

The majority of compressive vertebral fractures in osteoporotic bone occur at the level of the thoracolumbar junction. Immediate decompression is often required in order to reduce the extent of neurological damage. This study evaluated four fixation methods for decompression in patients with thoracolumbar burst fractures, and presented the most suitable method for osteoporotic patients. A finite element model of a T7–L5 spinal segment was created and subjected to an L1 corpectomy to simulate a serious burst fracture. Five models were tested: a) intact spine; 2) two segment fixation (TSF), 3) up-three segment fixation (UTSF), below-three segment fixation (BTSF), and four segment fixation (FSF). The ROM, stiffness and compression ratio of the fractured vertebra were recorded under various loading conditions. The results of this study showed that the ROM of the FSF model was the lowest, and the ROMs of UTSF and BTSF models were similar but still greater than the TSF model. Decreasing the BMD to simulate osteoporotic bone resulted in a ROM for the four instrumented models that was higher than the normal bone model. Of all models, the FSF model had the highest stiffness at T12-L2 in extension and lateral bending. Similarly, the compression ratio of the FSF model at L1 was also higher than the other instrumented models. In conclusion, FSF fixation is suggested for patients with osteoporotic thoracolumbar burst fractures. For patients with normal bone quality, both UTSF and BTSF fixation provide an acceptable stiffness in extension and lateral bending, as well as a favorable compression ratio at L1.

]]>
<![CDATA[Further empirical data for torsion on bowed strings]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e932d5eed0c48496f96e

Research on bowed string motion focuses on transverse waves rather than on torsional waves. These are believed to play only a minor role for stabilizing vibrations and no role for perception. Here, torsion is measured on both sides of the bow contact point for a variety of bridge-bow distances on a cello string. Every periodic string release is preceeded by a reverse torsional motion independent from bowing position or dynamics. Transverse and torsional motions are coupled and there are cases of stabilization, but also cases of perturbation or surrender. Structural and timing analyses of torsional waves suggest that the earlier concepts of differential slipping can be essentially confirmed while the concept of Schelleng ripples cannot be confirmed and the concept of subharmonics is under question.

]]>
<![CDATA[Greater aortic stiffness is associated with renal dysfunction in participants of the ELSA-Brasil cohort with and without hypertension and diabetes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e92bd5eed0c48496f8f4

Background

Arterial stiffness has been associated with renal dysfunction and its progression, but the pathophysiological relation underlying this association has not been fully established, particularly among individuals without hypertension and diabetes. We investigated the cross-sectional associations between arterial stiffness and renal function in adults without cardiovascular disease, and whether this association remained among subjects without hypertension and diabetes.

Methods

All eligible participants from ELSA-Brasil (2008–2010), aged 35 to 74 years (N = 13,586) were included, of whom 7,979 were free from hypertension and diabetes. The response variables were: 1) low glomerular filtration rate (eGFR<60ml/min/1.73m2) estimated by CKD-EPI; 2) increased albumin/creatinine ratio (ACR ≥30mg/g); and 3) chronic kidney disease (CKD). Arterial stiffness was ascertained by the carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV). The covariates were sex, age, race/color, level of schooling, smoking, body mass index, total cholesterol/HDL-c glycated hemoglobin, diabetes, systolic blood pressure, heart rate and use of antihypertensive drugs. Logistic regression was used to examine the associations.

Results

After all adjustments, 1 m/s increase in PWV was associated with ORs equal to 1.10 (95%CI: 1.04–1.16), 1.10 (95%CI: 1.05–1.16) and 1.12 (95%CI: 1.08–1.17) of low eGFR, high ACR, and CKD, respectively. In subjects without hypertension and diabetes, these ORs were 1.19 (95%CI: 1.07–1.33), 1.20 (95%CI: 1.07–1.32) and 1.21 (95%CI: 1.11–1.30), respectively.

Conclusion

The increase in PWV was associated with all renal dysfunction markers, even in individuals without hypertension and diabetes, suggesting a relation that is not completely mediated by the presence of these conditions.

]]>
<![CDATA[Older birds have better feathers: A longitudinal study on the long-distance migratory Sand Martin, Riparia riparia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390bfad5eed0c48491f3b6

Feather quality is of critical importance to long-distance migratory birds. Here, we report a series of analyses of a unique data set encompassing known-age individuals of the long-distance migratory Sand Martin (Riparia riparia). Sampling over 17 years along the Tisza River, eastern Hungary, has resulted in the recapture of numerous individuals enabling longitudinal and cross-sectional investigation of the role of adaptation to variable environmental conditions on feather morphology. We show that older individuals tend to possess better quality feathers, measured using bending stiffness, feather length and thickness as proxies. Bending stiffness and feather thickness do not change with individual age, in contrast with increases in feather length and declines in daily feather growth versus age of individual alongside moult duration. Individuals who live to older ages tend to have similar, or higher, feather growth rates and better feather quality than individuals captured at younger ages. Thus, on the basis of strong selection against individuals with slow feather growth, as seen in other species of swallows and martins, which causes a delay in moult completion, the results of this analysis highlight the potential cost of producing better quality feathers when this depends on moult duration. Feather length also does change during the lifetime of the individual and thus enabled us to further investigate influence of individual and environmental conditions during the moult. The results of this analysis provide important insights on the adaptive significance of these traits, and the potential use of physical characteristics in unravelling the reasons why long distance migratory bird populations are in global decline.

]]>
<![CDATA[Seismic site classification and amplification of shallow bedrock sites]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2d2ec3d5eed0c484d9b7b5

This study attempts to develop empirical correlations between average penetration resistance (NSPTR¯), averaged velocities over depth up to bedrock depth (VSR¯) and 30 m (VS30¯) for shallow depth sites (having bedrock at a depth less than 25 m). A total of 63 shallow sites were assessed for penetration resistance values up to the bedrock from Standard Penetration Tests (SPT) and dynamic soil property analysis, i.e., Shear Wave Velocity (VS) from Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves. The study shows that 30 m averaged shear wave velocities are more than the average velocity up to bedrock depth in shallow bedrock sites because of inclusion of rock site velocity. Furthermore, averaged SPT-N(NSPTR¯) and average VS (VSR¯) up to bedrock depth were correlated with the 30 m average(VS30¯) values. This is the first attempt in developing empirical relationships of this kind for seismic site classification. These correlations can be made useful for seismic site classification of sites in regions with Standard Penetration Test (NSPT) values and limited VS values. Further surface and bedrock motion recordings of 12 selected KiK-net shallow depth sites were collected and amplifications were estimated with the respective peak ground acceleration, spectral acceleration and thereby related to the average shear wave velocity up to bedrock and 30 m. The results show that the amplification is better correlated to the VSR¯ than VS30¯ for shallow depth sites, and more data can be added to strengthen this correlation.

]]>
<![CDATA[Nerve conduction velocity is negatively associated with intima-media thickness and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity in men with type 2 diabetes mellitus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c254566d5eed0c48442c6a7

Objective

Previous studies suggest that the presence of diabetic peripheral polyneuropathy (DPN) is associated with atherosclerotic diseases; however, little is known about the relationship between diabetic nerve conduction velocity (NCV) versus arterial stiffness and atherosclerosis parameters.

Methods

The subjects in this study were 292 men with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). All subjects underwent NCV examination at median and tibial nerves as motor nerve (MCV) as well as median and sural nerves as sensory nerve (SCV). Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) were evaluated as arterial stiffness and atherosclerosis parameters.

Results

Pearson’s correlation coefficient showed that NCV at all sites negatively correlated with baPWV, maximal and mean IMT (IMT-Max and IMT-Mean), and plaque score (all p values p<0.01 at least). Multiple regression analyses adjusted for confounding factors such as age, duration of diabetes, body mass index, HbA1c, fasting C-peptide, systolic blood pressure, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and albuminuria showed that the association of NCV with IMT-Max, ITM-Mean, and plaque score remained significant (all p values p<0.05 at least) except that between SCV at median and IMT-Max. Moreover, SCV at median (forearm) and sural were significantly associated with baPWV (p = 0.023 and p = 0.027, respectively).

Conclusion

The present study showed that DPN estimated by quantitative NCV is linearly associated with the deterioration of arterial stiffness and atherosclerosis parameters in T2DM independently of various diabetic and atherosclerotic factors.

]]>
<![CDATA[Changes in spinal stiffness with chronic thoracic pain: Correlation with pain and muscle activity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1966f6d5eed0c484b5371d

Objective

The objective was to compare thoracic spinal stiffness between healthy participants and participants with chronic thoracic pain and to explore the associations between spinal stiffness, pain and muscle activity. The reliability of spinal stiffness was also evaluated.

Material and methods

Spinal stiffness was assessed from T5 to T8 using a mechanical device in 25 healthy participants and 50 participants with chronic thoracic pain (symptoms had to be reported within the evaluated region of the back). The spinal levels for which spinal stiffness was measured were standardized (i.e. T5 to T8 for all participants) to minimize between-individual variations due to the evaluation of different spinal levels. The device load and displacement data were used to calculate the global and terminal spinal stiffness coefficients at each spinal level. Immediately after each assessment, participants were asked to rate their pain intensity during the trial, while thoracic muscle activity was recorded during the load application using surface electromyography electrodes (sEMG). Within- and between-day reliability were evaluated using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), while the effects of chronic thoracic pain and spinal levels on spinal stiffness and sEMG activity were assessed using mixed model ANOVAs. Correlations between pain intensity, muscle activity and spinal stiffness were also computed.

Results

ICC values for within- and between-day reliability of spinal stiffness ranged from 0.67 to 0.91 and from 0.60 to 0.94 (except at T5), respectively. A significant decrease in the global (F1,73 = 4.04, p = 0.048) and terminal (F1,73 = 4.93, p = 0.03) spinal stiffness was observed in participants with thoracic pain. sEMG activity was not significantly different between groups and between spinal levels. Pain intensity was only significantly and "moderately" correlated to spinal stiffness coefficients at one spinal level (-0.29≤r≤-0.51), while sEMG activity and spinal stiffness were not significantly correlated.

Conclusion

The results suggest that spinal stiffness can be reliably assessed using a mechanical device and that this parameter is decreased in participants with chronic thoracic pain. Studies are required to determine the value of instrumented spinal stiffness assessment in the evaluation and management of patients with chronic spine-related pain.

]]>
<![CDATA[Feasibility of the annulus fibrosus repair with in situ gelating hydrogels – A biomechanical study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf9ad5eed0c484914a3a

The surgical standard of care for lumbar discectomy leaves the annulus fibrosus (AF) defect unrepaired, despite considerable risk for a recurrent herniation. Identification of a viable defect repair strategy has until now been elusive. The scope of this ex vivo biomechanical study was to evaluate crosslinking hydrogels as potentially promising AF defect sealants, and provide a baseline for their use in combination with collagen scaffolds that restore disc volume. This study directly compared genipin crosslinked fibrin hydrogel (FibGen) as a promising preclinical candidate against a clinically available adhesive composed of glutaraldehyde and albumin (BioGlue). Forty-two bovine coccygeal functional spine units (FSU) were randomly allocated into four groups, namely untreated (control, n = 12), repaired with either one of the tested hydrogels (BioGlue, n = 12; FibGen, n = 12), or FibGen used in combination with a collagen hydrogel scaffold (FibGen+Scaffold, n = 6). All specimens underwent a moderate mechanical testing protocol in intact, injured and repaired states. After completion of the moderate testing protocol, the samples underwent a ramp-to-failure test. Lumbar discectomy destabilized the FSU as quantified by increased torsional range of motion (28.0° (19.1, 45.1) vs. 41.39° (27.3, 84.9), p<0.001), torsional neutral zone (3.1° (1.2, 7.7) vs. 4.8° (2.1, 12.1), Z = -3.49, p < 0.001), hysteresis(24.4 J (12.8, 76.0) vs. 27.6 J (16.4, 54.4), Z = -2.61, p = 0.009), with loss of both disc height (7.0 mm (5.0, 10.5) vs 6.1 mm (4.0, 9.3), Z = -5.16, p < 0.001) and torsional stiffness (0.76 Nmdeg-1 (0.38, 1.07) vs. 0.66 Nmdeg-1 (0.38, 0.97), Z = -3.98, p < 0.001). Most FibGen repaired AF endured the entire testing procedure whereas only a minority of BioGlue repaired AF and all FibGen+Scaffold repaired AF failed (6/10 vs. 3/12 vs. 0/6 respectively, p = 0.041). Both BioGlue and FibGen+Scaffold repaired AF partially restored disc height (0.47 mm (0.07, 2.41), p = 0.048 and 1.52 mm (0.41, 2.57), p = 0.021 respectively) compared to sham treatment (0.08 mm (-0.63, 0.88)) whereas FibGen-only repaired AF had no such effect (0.04 mm (-0.73, 1.13), U = 48.0, p = 1). The AF injury model demonstrated considerable change of FSU mechanics that could be partially restored by use of an AF sealant. While inclusion of a volumetric collagen scaffold led to repair failure, use of FibGen alone demonstrated clinically relevant promise for prevention of mechanical reherniation, outperforming an FDA approved sealant in this ex vivo test series.

]]>
<![CDATA[Progressive structural capacity loss assessment—A framework for modern reinforced concrete buildings]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ed78dd5eed0c484f14393

By the virtue of burgeoning terrorism, the exponential growth of advanced weaponry, and allied aids for explosions, it is quite evident that infrastructural facilities in the world have increasingly become more susceptible to sabotaging activities. The ever enhancing employment of reinforced concrete (RC) in the construction industry around the globe, the progressive collapse mechanisms, and respective mitigation strategies in the context of terrorism have garnered quite an attraction by the structural engineering community. The proficiency to envisage the complete collapse under the chain reaction of structural failures, partial collapse of key structural members, or the strength degradation of fundamental structural elements under the blast or impact loading can deliver significant information to cope with partial or complete structural failure. It is quite convenient to say that during the service life, a structure may experience extreme loading conditions. The current study has proposed a new methodology to cover the effect of uncertainty involved in loading on key structural elements of new and complex structures by emphasizing a very realistic structural capacity loss mechanism that allows the incremental reduction in the structural capacities of pivotal structural elements against any sort of impact loading instead of their complete annihilation. To demonstrate the application of the proposed methodology, a 13-story complex structure was selected that was comprised of a diverse structural configuration. The outcomes and results ensured the structural integrity against the applied loadings, as well as the effectiveness of the proposed methodology.

]]>