Monday, March 31, 2014

URSP Student Bradley Boeji Researches Dynamic Changes in Muscle Length in Osteoarthritis Patients

I’m doing my research project on osteoarthritis (OA) patients as the title suggests, more specifically I’m working with osteoarthritis patients that are post-ACL reconstruction surgery. I got into this project through a friend in one of Mason’s graduate programs. He thought it may be something I was interested in so he suggested I come in and help him out with his research. His project is very similar to the work I am doing only he is looking at different variables that can be linked to OA in post-ACL reconstructions. After helping him do one data collection I had to see more and know more about his work. I have always been interested in injuries (rehabilitation and prevention), being a hopeful physical therapist in the making, but I had never thought about looking at injuries in a research frame. It has been my first true application of some of the skills and knowledge I have learned from the Kinesiology program and that has been the real hook for me. This project is going to help me tremendously with my long term goals because I will have a leg up on my studies in graduate school. I will be able to bring a different perception to the other students and the material in general that I think will help me master the art of rehabilitation. At the essence of rehab is correcting biomechanics and to do that you need to have a full and complete understanding of the mechanics of human movement. Starting out now working with technology in the SMART lab I can gain a huge lesson in applied biomechanics by having data right in front of me on a screen to manipulate and experiment with. This will carry over into the clinical realm where the main source of technology comes from your own mind’s analytical processes. During an average week, with no data collections, I’m mainly working with Visual 3D (Biomechanical analysis software) to code the commands I will run once all of my data has been collected and reading research studies. In reading a few studies this week I learned that where it is well understood that muscle influence knee joint loading and impairments in muscle function have been observed in knee OA patients there is actually very little evidence that suggests these may precede OA. So my focus may shift to better understanding these impairments as a means to further the understanding of knee OA and help establish better preventative measures.