Drs Spyros Masouros and Nicolas Newell have recently started working in the area of Spine Biomechanics. Having previously worked together on lower limb biomechanics, they are using similar research methods to investigate both low back pain and spinal injury sustained in high-energy
trauma. The vision is to develop capability to simulate the response of the spine under injurious loads. By understanding the pathophysiology, the ultimate goal is to develop preventative technologies and improve treatment and rehabilitation strategies. Integral to the research approach is
the close collaboration with medics who bring direct insight into the clinical problems and their treatment strategies. Analysis of the clinical data allows the bioengineers to form, and test, appropriate hypotheses, using computational and experimental tools and techniques. Current methods
used to inform protective strategies of the spine are substandard, especially in the defence sector. This is largely due to our limited understanding of injury mechanisms and their sequelae, and our limited understanding of the biomechanical response of the spine under high-rate, injurious
loading conditions. As a first step, the team has characterised the material behaviour of the intervertebral disc at a range of strain rates and is working on computational models of the lower back. Long term, the team hopes to develop a computational model of the entire human spine and thorax
that can be used for injury prediction, a tool that would be invaluable to developing preventative technologies.
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Document Type: Research Article
February 1, 2017
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