Wednesday, November 2, 2016

URSP Student David Le Investigates the Muscle Architecture Surrounding Myofascial Trigger Points in People Suffering from Chronic Neck Pain

My name is David Le and I am currently a Senior studying Bioengineering. My project is on investigating the muscle architecture surrounding myofascial trigger points in people suffering from chronic neck pain in an attempt to understand more about the causes and effects of these painful nodules using ultrasound characterization. 

I have known since early on in going to George Mason that I wanted to be involved in research, but only recently have come to know more about the professors and work being done at the institution. I intend to further my studies through graduate school so the URSP experience is extremely valuable for my future plans.

I became interested in this project due to Dr. Sikdar, my advisor, telling me that the Biomedical Imaging Lab was planning to begin more study of myofascial trigger points and gave me the opportunity to help set the foundational work for future studies at the lab. There has been previous research done at GMU, but there is now renewed interest in pursuing

Every week, Dr. Gerber from GMU and Dr. Shah from the NIH, who are collaborators in this project, join us and help with different aspects such as identification of the trigger points for subjects with chronic neck pain. Currently, we are researching and developing new methods from which we can possibly test on these subjects. From there we plan analyze the ultrasound images that we record and aim to characterize the muscle architecture.

The one thing I have learned so far is how powerful ultrasound is as a tool in medical imaging. There is plenty of potential available in this method even though it has is not as flashy MRI or CT scans due to its simplicity. From that simplicity, we can apply different tools to learn more from muscle than just what the picture tells us. I am thoroughly fascinated with this project and excited to not only work on it this semester but hopefully for the rest of my time at George Mason.