J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):357-363. doi:10.1115/1.1894121.

Osteolysis due to wear debris is a primary cause of failure of total joint replacements. Although debris produced by the joint articulating surfaces has been studied and simulated extensively, fretting wear debris, produced at nonarticulating surfaces, has not received adequate attention. We developed a three-station fretting wear simulator to reproduce in vivo motion and stresses at the interfaces of total joint replacements. The simulator is based on the beam bending theory and is capable of producing cyclic displacement from 3to1000microns, under varying magnitudes of contact stresses. The simulator offers three potential advantages over previous studies: The ability to control the displacement by load, the ability to produce very small displacements, and dynamic normal loads as opposed to static. A pilot study was designed to test the functionality of the simulator, and verify that calculated displacements and loads produced the predicted differences between two commonly used porous ingrowth titanium alloy surfaces fretting against cortical bone. After 1.5 million cycles, the simulator functioned as designed, producing greater wear of bone against the rougher plasma-sprayed surface compared to the fiber-mesh surface, as predicted. A novel pin-on-disk apparatus for simulating fretting wear at orthopaedic implant interfaces due to micromotion is introduced. The test parameters measured with the fretting wear simulator were as predicted by design calculations, and were sufficient to measure differences in the height and weight of cortical bone pins rubbing against two porous ingrowth surfaces, plasma-sprayed titanium and titanium fiber mesh.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):364-373. doi:10.1115/1.1894148.

A better understanding of the three-dimensional mechanics of the pelvis, at the patient-specific level, may lead to improved treatment modalities. Although finite element (FE) models of the pelvis have been developed, validation by direct comparison with subject-specific strains has not been performed, and previous models used simplifying assumptions regarding geometry and material properties. The objectives of this study were to develop and validate a realistic FE model of the pelvis using subject-specific estimates of bone geometry, location-dependent cortical thickness and trabecular bone elastic modulus, and to assess the sensitivity of FE strain predictions to assumptions regarding cortical bone thickness as well as bone and cartilage material properties. A FE model of a cadaveric pelvis was created using subject-specific computed tomography image data. Acetabular loading was applied to the same pelvis using a prosthetic femoral stem in a fashion that could be easily duplicated in the computational model. Cortical bone strains were monitored with rosette strain gauges in ten locations on the left hemipelvis. FE strain predictions were compared directly with experimental results for validation. Overall, baseline FE predictions were strongly correlated with experimental results (r2=0.824), with a best-fit line that was not statistically different than the line y=x(experimental strains=FEpredicted strains). Changes to cortical bone thickness and elastic modulus had the largest effect on cortical bone strains. The FE model was less sensitive to changes in all other parameters. The methods developed and validated in this study will be useful for creating and analyzing patient-specific FE models to better understand the biomechanics of the pelvis.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster


J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):374-382. doi:10.1115/1.1894180.

Endothelial cells in vivo are normally subjected to multiple mechanical stimuli such as stretch and fluid shear stress (FSS) but because each stimulus induces magnitude-dependent morphologic responses, the relative importance of each stimulus in producing the normal in vivo state is not clear. Using cultured human aortic endothelial cells, this study first determined equipotent levels of cyclic stretch, steady FSS, and oscillatory FSS with respect to the time course of cell orientation. We then tested whether these levels of stimuli were equipotent in combination with each other by imposing simultaneous cyclic stretch and steady FSS or cyclic stretch and oscillatory FSS so as to reinforce or counteract the cells’ orientation responses. Equipotent levels of the three stimuli were 2% cyclic stretch at 2%s, 80dynescm2 steady FSS and 20±10dynescm2 oscillatory FSS at 20dynecm2-s. When applied in reinforcing fashion, cyclic stretch and oscillatory, but not steady, FSS were additive. Both pairs of stimuli canceled when applied in counteracting fashion. These results indicate that this level of cyclic stretch and oscillatory FSS sum algebraically so that they are indeed equipotent. In addition, oscillatory FSS is a stronger stimulus than steady FSS for inducing cell orientation. Moreover, arterial endothelial cells in vivo are likely receiving a stronger stretch than FSS stimulus.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):383-390. doi:10.1115/1.1894204.

Mineralized collagen fibrils are the basic building blocks of bone tissue at the supramolecular level. Several disease states, manipulation of the expression of specific proteins involved in biomineralization, and treatment with different agents alter the extent of mineralization as well as the morphology of mineral crystals which in turn affect the mechanical function of bone tissue. An experimental assessment of mineralized fibers’ mechanical properties is challenged by their small size, leaving analytical and computational models as a viable alternative for investigation of the fibril-level mechanical properties. In the current study the variation of the elastic stiffness tensor of mineralized collagen fibrils with changing mineral volume fraction and mineral aspect ratios was predicted via a micromechanical model. The partitioning of applied stresses between mineral and collagen phases is also predicted for normal and shear loading of fibrils. Model predictions resulted in transversely isotropic collagen fibrils in which the modulus along the longer axis of the fibril was the greatest. All the elastic moduli increased with increasing mineral volume fraction whereas Poisson’s ratios decreased with the exception of ν12(=ν21). The partitioning of applied stresses were such that the stresses acting on mineral crystals were about 1.5, 15, and 3 times greater than collagen stresses when fibrils were loaded transversely, longitudinally, and in shear, respectively. In the overall the predictions were such that: (a) greatest modulus along longer axis; (b) the greatest mineral/collagen stress ratio along the longer axis of collagen fibers (i.e., greatest relief of stresses acting on collagen); and (c) minimal lateral contraction when fibers are loaded along the longer axis. Overall, the pattern of mineralization as put forth in this model predicts a superior mechanical function along the longer axis of collagen fibers, the direction which is more likely to experience greater stresses.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):391-399. doi:10.1115/1.1894233.

Cochlear outer hair cells are crucial for active hearing. These cells have a unique form of motility, named electromotility, whose main features are the cell’s length changes, active force production, and nonlinear capacitance. The molecular motor, prestin, that drives outer hair cell electromotility has recently been identified. We reveal relationships between the active energy produced by the outer hair cell molecular motors, motor effectiveness, and the capacitive properties of the cell membrane. We quantitatively characterize these relationships by introducing three characteristics: effective capacitance, zero-strain capacitance, and zero-resultant capacitance. We show that zero-strain capacitance is smaller than zero-resultant capacitance, and that the effective capacitance is between the two. It was also found that the differences between the introduced capacitive characteristics can be expressed in terms of the active energy produced by the cell’s molecular motors. The effectiveness of the cell and its molecular motors is introduced as the ratio of the motors’ active energy to the energy of the externally applied electric field. It is shown that the effectiveness is proportional to the difference between zero-strain and zero-resultant capacitance. We analyze the cell and motor’s effectiveness within a broad range of cellular parameters and estimate it to be within a range of 12%–30%.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

TECHNICAL PAPERS: Fluids/Heat/Transport

J Biomech Eng. 2004;127(3):400-415. doi:10.1115/1.1894260.

Computational investigations of flow mixing and oxygen transfer characteristics in an intravenous membrane oxygenator (IMO) are performed by direct numerical simulations of the conservation of mass, momentum, and species equations. Three-dimensional computational models are developed to investigate flow-mixing and oxygen-transfer characteristics for stationary and pulsating balloons, using the spectral element method. For a stationary balloon, the effect of the fiber placement within the fiber bundle and the number of fiber rings is investigated. In a pulsating balloon, the flow mixing characteristics are determined and the oxygen transfer rate is evaluated. For a stationary balloon, numerical simulations show two well-defined flow patterns that depend on the region of the IMO device. Successive increases of the Reynolds number raise the longitudinal velocity without creating secondary flow. This characteristic is not affected by staggered or non-staggered fiber placement within the fiber bundle. For a pulsating balloon, the flow mixing is enhanced by generating a three-dimensional time-dependent flow characterized by oscillatory radial, pulsatile longitudinal, and both oscillatory and random tangential velocities. This three-dimensional flow increases the flow mixing due to an active time-dependent secondary flow, particularly around the fibers. Analytical models show the fiber bundle placement effect on the pressure gradient and flow pattern. The oxygen transport from the fiber surface to the mean flow is due to a dominant radial diffusion mechanism, for the stationary balloon. The oxygen transfer rate reaches an asymptotic behavior at relatively low Reynolds numbers. For a pulsating balloon, the time-dependent oxygen-concentration field resembles the oscillatory and wavy nature of the time-dependent flow. Sherwood number evaluations demonstrate that balloon pulsations enhance the oxygen transfer rate, even for smaller flow rates.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):416-431. doi:10.1115/1.1894294.

Most of the laser applications in medicine and biology involve thermal effects. The laser-tissue thermal interaction has therefore received more and more attentions in recent years. However, previous works were mainly focused on the case of laser heating on normal tissues (37 °C or above). To date, little is known on the mechanisms of laser heating on the frozen biological tissues. Several latest experimental investigations have demonstrated that lasers have great potentials in tissue cryopreservation. But the lack of theoretical interpretation limits its further application in this area. The present paper proposes a numerical model for the thawing of biological tissues caused by laser irradiation. The Monte Carlo approach and the effective heat capacity method are, respectively, employed to simulate the light propagation and solid-liquid phase change heat transfer. The proposed model has four important features: (1) the tissue is considered as a nonideal material, in which phase transition occurs over a wide temperature range; (2) the solid phase, transition phase, and the liquid phase have different thermophysical properties; (3) the variations in optical properties due to phase-change are also taken into consideration; and (4) the light distribution is changing continually with the advancement of the thawing fronts. To this end, 15 thawing-front geometric configurations are presented for the Monte Carlo simulation. The least-squares parabola fitting technique is applied to approximate the shape of the thawing front. And then, a detailed algorithm of calculating the photon reflection/refraction behaviors at the thawing front is described. Finally, we develop a coupled light/heat transport solution procedure for the laser-induced thawing of frozen tissues. The proposed model is compared with three test problems and good agreement is obtained. The calculated results show that the light reflectance/transmittance at the tissue surface are continually changing with the progression of the thawing fronts and that lasers provide a new heating method superior to conventional heating through surface conduction because it can achieve a uniform volumetric heating. Parametric studies are performed to test the influences of the optical properties of tissue on the thawing process. The proposed model is rather general in nature and therefore can be applied to other nonbiological problems as long as the materials are absorbing and scattering media.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2004;127(3):432-439. doi:10.1115/1.1894322.

The effects of blood velocity on gas transport within the alveolar region of lungs, and on the lung diffusing capacity DL have for many years been regarded as negligible. The present work reports on a preliminary, two-dimensional investigation of CO convection-diffusion phenomenon within a pulmonary capillary. Numerical simulations were performed using realistic clinical and morphological parameter values, with discrete circular red blood cells (RBCs) moving with plasma in a single capillary. Steady-state simulations with stationary blood (RBCs and plasma) were performed to validate the model by comparison with published data. Results for RBCs moving at speeds varying from 1.0mms to 10mms, and for capillary hematocrit (Ht) from 5% to 55%, revealed an increase of up to 60% in DL, as compared to the stationary blood case. The increase in DL is more pronounced at low Ht (less than 25%) and high RBC speed and it seems to be caused primarily by the presence of plasma. The results also indicate that capillary blood convection affects DL not only by improving the plasma mixing in the capillary bed but also by replenishing the capillary with fresh (zero concentration) plasma, providing an additional reservoir for the consumption of CO. Our findings cast doubt on the current belief that an increase in the lung diffusing capacity of humans (for instance, during exercising), with fixed hematocrit, can only be accomplished by an increase in the lung volume effectively active in the respiration process.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2004;127(3):440-449. doi:10.1115/1.1894350.

The Circle of Willis is a ring-like structure of blood vessels found beneath the hypothalamus at the base of the brain. Its main function is to distribute oxygen-rich arterial blood to the cerebral mass. One-dimensional (1D) and three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models of the Circle of Willis have been created to provide a simulation tool which can potentially be used to identify at-risk cerebral arterial geometries and conditions and replicate clinical scenarios, such as occlusions in afferent arteries and absent circulus vessels. Both models capture cerebral haemodynamic autoregulation using a proportional–integral (PI) controller to modify efferent artery resistances to maintain optimal efferent flow rates for a given circle geometry and afferent blood pressure. The models can be used to identify at-risk cerebral arterial geometries and conditions prior to surgery or other clinical procedures. The 1D model is particularly relevant in this instance, with its fast solution time suitable for real-time clinical decisions. Results show the excellent correlation between models for the transient efferent flux profile. The assumption of strictly Poiseuille flow in the 1D model allows more flow through the geometrically extreme communicating arteries than the 3D model. This discrepancy was overcome by increasing the resistance to flow in the anterior communicating artery in the 1D model to better match the resistance seen in the 3D results.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):450-454. doi:10.1115/1.1894366.

Blood viscosity changes with many pathologic conditions, but its importance has not been fully investigated because the current methods of measurement are poorly suited for clinical applications. The use of viscosity-sensitive fluorescent molecular rotors to determine fluid viscosity in a nonmechanical manner has been investigated recently, but it is unknown how the precision of the fluorescence-based method compares to established mechanical viscometry. Human blood plasma viscosity was modulated with high-viscosity plasma expanders, dextran, pentastarch, and hetastarch. The samples were divided into a calibration and a test set. The relationship between fluorescence emission and viscosity was established using the calibration set. Viscosity of the test set was determined by fluorescence and by cone-and-plate viscometer, and the precision of both methods compared. Molecular rotor fluorescence intensity showed a power law relationship with solution viscosity. Mechanical measurements deviated from the theoretical viscosity value by less than 7.6%, while fluorescence-based measurements deviated by less than 6%. The average coefficient of variation was 6.9% (mechanical measurement) and 3.4% to 3.8% (fluorescence-based measurement, depending on the molecular rotor used). Fluorescence-based viscometry exhibits comparable precision to mechanical viscometry. Fluorescence viscometry does not apply shear and is therefore more practical for biofluids which have apparent non-Newtonian properties. In addition, fluorescence instrumentation makes very fast serial measurements possible, thus promising new areas of application in laboratory and clinical settings.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster


J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):455-464. doi:10.1115/1.1894367.

Accurate estimations of body segment inertial parameters (BSPs) are required to calculate the kinetics of motion. The purpose of this study was to develop a geometric model of the human thigh segment based on mass distribution properties determined from dual energy x ray absorptiometry (DEXA). One hundred subjects from four populations underwent a DEXA scan and anthropometric measurements were taken. The mass distribution properties of the thigh segment were determined for 20 subjects, a geometric model was developed, and the model was applied to the remaining 80 subjects. The model was validated by comparing to benchmark DEXA measurements. Four other popular models in the literature were also evaluated in the same manner. No one set of predictors performed best for a particular group or BSP, however modeling the mass distribution properties of the segment allows the assumption of constant density while still accurately representing the inertial properties of the segment and provides promise for future development of BSP models.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):465-474. doi:10.1115/1.1894388.

Optimization is frequently employed in biomechanics research to solve system identification problems, predict human movement, or estimate muscle or other internal forces that cannot be measured directly. Unfortunately, biomechanical optimization problems often possess multiple local minima, making it difficult to find the best solution. Furthermore, convergence in gradient-based algorithms can be affected by scaling to account for design variables with different length scales or units. In this study we evaluate a recently- developed version of the particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm to address these problems. The algorithm’s global search capabilities were investigated using a suite of difficult analytical test problems, while its scale-independent nature was proven mathematically and verified using a biomechanical test problem. For comparison, all test problems were also solved with three off-the-shelf optimization algorithms—a global genetic algorithm (GA) and multistart gradient-based sequential quadratic programming (SQP) and quasi-Newton (BFGS) algorithms. For the analytical test problems, only the PSO algorithm was successful on the majority of the problems. When compared to previously published results for the same problems, PSO was more robust than a global simulated annealing algorithm but less robust than a different, more complex genetic algorithm. For the biomechanical test problem, only the PSO algorithm was insensitive to design variable scaling, with the GA algorithm being mildly sensitive and the SQP and BFGS algorithms being highly sensitive. The proposed PSO algorithm provides a new off-the-shelf global optimization option for difficult biomechanical problems, especially those utilizing design variables with different length scales or units.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2004;127(3):475-483. doi:10.1115/1.1894371.

Rigid body pose is commonly represented as the rigid body transformation from one (often reference) pose to another. This is usually computed for each frame of data without any assumptions or restrictions on the temporal change of the pose. The most common algorithm was proposed by Söderkvist and Wedin (1993, “Determining the Movements of the Skeleton Using Well-configured Markers  ,” J. Biomech., 26, pp. 1473–1477), and implies the assumption that measurement errors are isotropic and homogenous. This paper describes an alternative method based on a state space formulation and the application of an extended Kalman filter (EKF). State space models are formulated, which describe the kinematics of the rigid body. The state vector consists of six generalized coordinates (corresponding to the 6 degrees of freedom), and their first time derivatives. The state space models have linear dynamics, while the measurement function is a nonlinear relation between the state vector and the observations (marker positions). An analytical expression for the linearized measurement function is derived. Tracking the rigid body motion using an EKF enables the use of a priori information on the measurement noise and type of motion to tune the filter. The EKF is time variant, which allows for a natural way of handling temporarily missing marker data. State updates are based on all the information available at each time step, even when data from fewer than three markers are available. Comparison with the method of Söderkvist and Wedin on simulated data showed a considerable improvement in accuracy with the proposed EKF method when marker data was temporarily missing. The proposed method offers an improvement in accuracy of rigid body pose estimation by incorporating knowledge of the characteristics of the movement and the measurement errors. Analytical expressions for the linearized system equations are provided, which eliminate the need for approximate discrete differentiation and which facilitate a fast implementation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster


J Biomech Eng. 2004;127(3):484-493. doi:10.1115/1.1894372.

In normal daily activities, ligaments are subjected to repeated loads, and respond to this environment with creep and fatigue. While progressive recruitment of the collagen fibers is responsible for the toe region of the ligament stress-strain curve, recruitment also represents an elegant feature to help ligaments resist creep. The use of artificial intelligence techniques in computational modeling allows a large number of parameters and their interactions to be incorporated beyond the capacity of classical mathematical models. The objective of the work described here is to demonstrate a tool for modeling creep of the rabbit medial collateral ligament that can incorporate the different parameters while quantifying the effect of collagen fiber recruitment during creep. An intelligent algorithm was developed to predict ligament creep. The modeling is performed in two steps: first, the ill-defined fiber recruitment is quantified using the fuzzy logic. Second, this fiber recruitment is incorporated along with creep stress and creep time to model creep using an adaptive neurofuzzy inference system. The model was trained and tested using an experimental database including creep tests and crimp image analysis. The model confirms that quantification of fiber recruitment is important for accurate prediction of ligament creep behavior at physiological loads.

Topics: Creep , Fibers , Stress , Fuzzy logic
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2004;127(3):494-503. doi:10.1115/1.1894373.

Accurate constitutive models are required to gain further insight into the mechanical behavior of cardiovascular tissues. In this study, a structural constitutive framework for cardiovascular tissues is introduced that accounts for the angular distribution of collagen fibers. To demonstrate its capabilities, the model is applied to study the biaxial behavior of the arterial wall and the aortic valve. The pressure–radius relationships of the arterial wall accurately describe experimentally observed sigma-shaped curves. In addition, the nonlinear and anisotropic mechanical properties of the aortic valve can be analyzed with the proposed model. We expect that the current model offers strong possibilities to further investigate the complex mechanical behavior of cardiovascular tissues, including their response to mechanical stimuli.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):504-511. doi:10.1115/1.1894385.

Knowledge of mitral valve (MV) mechanics is essential for the understanding of normal MV function, and the design and evaluation of new surgical repair procedures. In the present study, we extended our investigation of MV dynamic strain behavior to quantify the dynamic strain on the central region of the posterior leaflet. Native porcine MVs were mounted in an in-vitro physiologic flow loop. The papillary muscle (PM) positions were set to the normal, taut, and slack states to simulate physiological and pathological PM positions. Leaflet deformation was measured by tracking the displacements of 16 small markers placed in the central region of the posterior leaflet. Local leaflet tissue strain and strain rates were calculated from the measured displacements under dynamic loading conditions. A total of 18 mitral valves were studied. Our findings indicated the following: (1) There was a rapid rise in posterior leaflet strain during valve closure followed by a plateau where no additional strain (i.e., no creep) occurred. (2) The strain field was highly anisotropic with larger stretches and stretch rates in the radial direction. There were negligible stretches, or even compression (stretch<1) in the circumferential direction at the beginning of valve closure. (3) The areal strain curves were similar to the stretches in the trends. The posterior leaflet showed no significant differences in either peak stretches or stretch rates during valve closure between the normal, taut, and slack PM positions. (4) As compared with the anterior leaflet, the posterior leaflet demonstrated overall lower stretch rates in the normal PM position. However, the slack and taut PM positions did not demonstrate the significant difference in the stretch rates and areal strain rates between the posterior leaflet and the anterior leaflet. The MV posterior leaflet exhibited pronounced mechanically anisotropic behavior. Loading rates of the MV posterior leaflet were very high. The PM positions influenced neither peak stretch nor stretch rates in the central area of the posterior leaflet. The stretch rates and areal strain rates were significantly lower in the posterior leaflet than those measured in the anterior leaflet in the normal PM position. However, the slack and taut PM positions did not demonstrate the significant differences between the posterior leaflet and the anterior leaflet. We conclude that PM positions may influence the posterior strain in a different way as compared to the anterior leaflet.

Topics: Valves , Deformation
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):512-524. doi:10.1115/1.1894386.

Pressure sores (PS) in deep muscles are potentially fatal and are considered one of the most costly complications in spinal cord injury patients. We hypothesize that continuous compression of the longissimus and gluteus muscles by the sacral and ischial bones during wheelchair sitting increases muscle stiffness around the bone-muscle interface over time, thereby causing muscles to bear intensified stresses in relentlessly widening regions, in a positive-feedback injury spiral. In this study, we measured long-term shear moduli of muscle tissue in vivo in rats after applying compression (35 KPa or 70 KPa for 14–2 h, N=32), and evaluated tissue viability in matched groups (using phosphotungstic acid hematoxylin histology, N=10). We found significant (1.8-fold to 3.3-fold, p<0.05) stiffening of muscle tissue in vivo in muscles subjected to 35 KPa for 30 min or over, and in muscles subjected to 70 KPa for 15 min or over. By incorporating this effect into a finite element (FE) model of the buttocks of a wheelchair user we identified a mechanical stress wave which spreads from the bone-muscle interface outward through longissimus muscle tissue. After 4 h of FE simulated motionlessness, 50%–60% of the cross section of the longissimus was exposed to compressive stresses of 35 KPa or over (shown to induce cell death in rat muscle within 15 min). During these 4 h, the mean compressive stress across the transverse cross section of the longissimus increased by 30%–40%. The identification of the stiffening-stress-cell-death injury spiral developing during the initial 30 min of motionless sitting provides new mechanistic insight into deep PS formation and calls for reevaluation of the 1 h repositioning cycle recommended by the U.S. Department of Health.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster


J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):525-530. doi:10.1115/1.1894387.

Our purpose in this study was to apply the virtual, interactive, musculoskeletal system (VIMS) software for modeling and biomechanical analysis of the glenohumeral joint during a baseball pitching activity. The skeletal model was from VIMS library and muscle fiber attachment sites were derived from the visible human dataset. The muscular moment arms and function changes are mainly due to the large humeral motion involved during baseball pitching. The graphic animation of the anatomic system using VIMS software is an effective tool to model and visualize the complex anatomical structure of the shoulder for biomechanical analysis.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):531-535. doi:10.1115/1.1894368.

This study is on an interesting phenomenon concerning cellular microinjection procedures which are used for various biomedical applications, and in particular intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Recent years have brought considerable practical improvements in these operations. One of them suggests aspirating a very small quantity of mercury in the injection pipettes prior to piercing into cells. This process is proven to enhance the rate of success considerably. We present a unique study in determining the influence of mercury on the microdynamics of the pipette. The effort contains both numerical simulations and corresponding experimental verification. Ultimately we offer two critical results: (1) The mercury column increases the mass loading and expectedly decreases the natural frequencies of the pipette and (2) The lateral oscillations, which play a destructive role in piercing, are subdued in amplitude due to the mass loading of mercury. Simulation results are presented, which are also verified experimentally using high-speed digital imaging. As a consequence of these findings we also propose some alternative design directions for future microinjection devices.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):536-540. doi:10.1115/1.1894369.

Nucleus replacement by a synthetic material is a recent trend for treatment of lower back pain. Hydrogel nucleus implants were prepared with variations in implant modulus, height, and diameter. Human lumbar intervertebral discs (IVDs) were tested in compression for intact, denucleated, and implanted condition. Implantation of nucleus implants with different material and geometric parameters into a denucleated IVD significantly altered the IVD compressive stiffness. Variations in the nucleus implant parameters significantly change the compressive stiffness of the human lumbar IVD. Implant geometrical variations were more effective than those of implant modulus variations in the range examined.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):541-548. doi:10.1115/1.1894370.

Motion of the wrist bones is complicated and difficult to measure. Noninvasive measurement of carpal kinematics using medical images has become popular. This technique is difficult and most investigators employ custom software. The objective of this paper is to describe a validated methodology for measuring carpal kinematics from computed tomography (CT) scans using commercial software. Four cadaveric wrists were CT imaged in neutral, full flexion, and full extension. A registration block was attached to the distal radius and used to align the data sets from each position. From the CT data, triangulated surface models of the radius, lunate, and capitate bones were generated using commercial software. The surface models from each wrist position were read into engineering design software that was used to calculate the centroid (position) and principal mass moments of inertia (orientation) of (1) the capitate and lunate relative to the fixed radius and (2) the capitate relative to the lunate. These data were used to calculate the helical axis kinematics for the motions from neutral to extension and neutral to flexion. The kinematics were plotted in three dimensions using a data visualization software package. The accuracy of the method was quantified in a separate set of experiments in which an isolated capitate bone was subjected to two different known rotation/translation motions for ten trials each. For comparison to in vivo techniques, the error in distal radius surface matching was determined using the block technique as a gold standard. The motion that the lunate and capitate underwent was half that of the overall wrist flexion-extension range of motion. Individually, the capitate relative to the lunate and the lunate relative to the radius generally flexed or extended about 30 deg, while the entire wrist (capitate relative to radius) typically flexed or extended about 60 deg. Helical axis translations were small, ranging from 0.6 mm to 1.8 mm across all motions. The accuracy of the method was found to be within 1.4 mm and 0.5 deg (95% confidence intervals). The mean error in distal radius surface matching was 2.4 mm and 1.2 deg compared to the use of a registration block. Carpal kinematics measured using the described methodology were accurate, reproducible, and similar to findings of previous investigators. The use of commercially available software should broaden the access of researchers interested in measuring carpal kinematics using medical imaging.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2005;127(3):549-553. doi:10.1115/1.1894389.

Clinical interventions can change the mechanical environment of the tissues targeted for therapy. In order to design better procedures, it is important to understand cellular responses to altered mechanical stress. Rigid fixation is one example of a constraint imposed on living tissues as a result of implanted devices. This results in disturbed stress and strain fields, with potentially strong gradients. Herein, we numerically solve the governing nonlinear ordinary differential equation for the stress distribution in a finitely deformed anisotropic circular membrane with a concentric fixation by applying a zero-displacement condition at the inner circumference. Results show that rigid fixations yield distributions of stress and strain that are markedly different from tissue defects with traction-free boundaries. Moreover, the material anisotropy plays a significant role in the manner the stress redistributes regardless of the size of fixation. The present study will contribute to the design of experiments to determine cellular reactions involved in the failure of interventional treatments.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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