Medicine in Motion Laboratory

The evolution and development of human species is relying upon motion thus, an understanding of the human body in health and disease requires the appreciation of the mechanisms which are essential for movement. Due to the complexity of the human body, these mechanisms involve among others, the use of energy systems, musculoskeletal mechanics and physiology.  What is interesting though, is that in order to provide the means for enhancing those mechanisms, motion must also be present. However, one of the most important challenges faced globally today is the rise in inactivity levels, despite all the health benefits associated with it. The benefits of motion are scientifically proven and widely linked with disease prevention, treatment and improved function, therefore the link between medicine and motion is multifaced. A deep understanding of human motion provides the means for a better appreciation of medicine, as specialist knowledge can be applied or prescribed for the treatment of patients. Behavioral factors such as sedentary lifestyle can impact upon health and all-cause mortality across the age spectrum. There are scientific evidence of the benefits of physical activity in children as their bone health and weight is improved, in addition to their cognitive function. In adults, the evidence are also apparent. Health disorders such cardiometabolic conditions, cancer, brain health and weight status can be prevented, improved or maintained, while in older adults’ physical function can be improved and the risk of falls can be reduced. In addition, medicine can also be directly related to movement, as application of interventions or diagnostics aiming to treat or manage specific conditions, which have a direct impact upon human motion, can bring about changes in the quality of life. People suffering from chronic diseases, such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis can benefit by the combined knowledge and application of medicine and motion through the application of interventions directly aiming to target specific movement patterns, or improve daily living. This can be apparent as pain can be managed and gait patterns can be enhanced. For medicine in motion laboratory, the aim is to link movement with medicine by focusing on the prevention and improvement of medical conditions, while aiming to innovate on the improvement of daily living and health promotion via motion.

Clinical Biomechanics

Clinical biomechanics bridges the gap between biomechanical principles in the clinical context. Injuries in the musculoskeletal system or pathological conditions, such as osteoporosis or arthritis, may impose changes on the mechanics of the human body which could lead to degradation, instability or disability of movement (Lu and Chang, 2012). Through the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the mechanics of human body, the underlying causes of clinical conditions can be identified, and treatment plans can be established in order to elucidate the causes of dysfunction and improve daily living. In addition, recommendations and corrective adjustments can be made on patterns affecting movement, and treatment plans can be established to improve motion. Advances in the application of clinical biomechanics, such as gait analysis and postural control has been shown to predict the development of certain conditions, as dementia and Alzheimer’s, years before the clinical diagnosis.  Thus, knowledge in the field becomes essential in order to gain a deeper understanding of the role of biomechanics in acute and chronic conditions.

Footwear Biomechanics

The evolvement of humans begun through barefoot walking however, the use of footwear is nowadays a necessity for most. The advancement of footwear structure and function has been shown to provide therapeutic, orthopedic benefits and functional improvement in patients and athletes.  Multinational cooperation’s continuously invest in research and innovation of new footwear which can treat disorders, boost performance, decrease fatigue, correct posture or prevent damage to the feet. In addition, new technological improvements may allow even further innovation on footwear. Currently, there is ongoing research aiming to implement smart technology in footwear such as pressure sensors to provide detection of body weight distribution throughout gait cycle to the detection of falls, or the assistance of footwear to visually impaired people. Thus, footwear biomechanics can provide all the necessary knowledge of the lower limbs in terms of mechanics, anatomy and pathophysiology specifically aimed in the application of footwear.

Podology

Podology is a field aiming to explore the study and care of the foot. This includes assessment, diagnosis and treatment of issues associated with feet such as deformities, injuries and fractures. Knowledge of podology requires an understanding of clinical science, anatomy, biomechanics and dermatology. The application of knowledge can improve the mobility of lower extremities and performance.

Selected bibliography

– Baltadjieva, R., Giladi, N., Gruendlinger, L., Peretz, C. & Hausdorff, J. M. Marked alterations in the gait timing and rhythmicity of patients with de novo Parkinson’s disease. European Journal of Neuroscience 24, 1815–1820 (2006).

– Baydal-Bertomeu, J., Puigcerver, S., Arroyo-Gómez, N., González, J., Gomez, J., Perez-Fernandez, M. and Sempere-Tortosa, J., 2015. New methodology based on PCA to analyse different pressure contact treads. Footwear Science, 7(sup1), pp.S70-S72.

– Cunningham, C., O’ Sullivan, R., Caserotti, P. and Tully, M., 2020. Consequences of physical inactivity in older adults: A systematic review of reviews and meta‐analyses. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 30(5), pp.816-827.

– Giladi, N., Horak, F. B. & Hausdorff, J. M. Classification of gait disturbances: Distinguishing between continuous and episodic changes. Movement Disorders 28, 1469–1473 (2013).

– Horst, F., Lapuschkin, S., Samek, W., Müller, K. and Schöllhorn, W., 2019. Explaining the unique nature of individual gait patterns with deep learning. Scientific Reports, 9(1).

– Lippi, G. and Sanchis-Gomar, F., 2020. An Estimation of the Worldwide Epidemiologic Burden of Physical Inactivity-Related Ischemic Heart Disease. Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy, 34(1), pp.133-137.

– Lu, T. and Chang, C., 2012. Biomechanics of human movement and its clinical applications. The Kaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences, 28(2), pp.S13-S25.

– McKay, M. J. et al. 1000 norms project: Protocol of a cross-sectional study cataloging human variation. Physiotherapy 102, 50–56 (2016).

– Montanini, L., Del Campo, A., Perla, D., Spinsante, S. and Gambi, E., 2018. A Footwear-Based Methodology for Fall Detection. IEEE Sensors Journal, 18(3), pp.1233-1242.

– Sallis, R., 2008. Exercise is medicine and physicians need to prescribe it!. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 43(1), pp.3-4.

– Verghese, J. et al. Abnormality of gait as a predictor of non-Alzheimer’s dementia. New England Journal of Medicine 347, 1761–1768 (2002).

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