J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(9):090201-090201-1. doi:10.1115/1.4007456.

As a means to highlight important advancements in Biomechanical Engineering, the annual Summer Bioengineering Conference (SBC), JBME has initiated a new annual special issue. The first part of the issue will present invited papers from the annual BED awardees and the student paper winners from the SBC annual meeting. In the second section, we will highlight major trends in biomechanical engineering by invited papers and reviews. Specifics include:

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(9):090202-090202-1. doi:10.1115/1.4007457.

It is my pleasure to inform the readership that the impact factor of JBME went up from 1.6 in 2010 to 1.9 in 2011. Submissions continue to substantially increase, with the 2011 total submissions at 552, up from 459 in 2010, and with a projected total of 630 at the current submission rate for 2012. Moreover, the net review time is now down to only one month from submission to the first Associate Editor Recommendation. JBME remains the most selective ASME journal, with an acceptance rate of 27%. This is a great sign that our collective efforts to raise impact factors and lower review times are working. Special thanks to the Reviewers and Associate Editors who do most of the real work of the Journal, as well as to the Bioengineering Division Chairs and the Executive Council for their hard work and support over the last five years.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers

J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(9):091001-091001-6. doi:10.1115/1.4007247.

Effects of small vibration stimuli on bone formation have been reported. In the present study, we used morphological and morphometric procedures to elucidate whether low-magnitude, high-frequency (LMHF) vibration stimuli could enhance the bone healing of rat incisor extraction sockets. After extraction of incisors from six-week-old rats, animals were assigned into a control group and two experimental groups to receive 50 Hz stimuli at either 0.05 mm or 0.2 mm peak-to-peak for an hour/day. LMHF vibration stimuli were generated by placing the mandibles of the animals onto a vibration generator. All groups were subdivided into two, according to the study periods (1 and 3 weeks). After the study period, undecalcified ground sections were taken and morphological and morphometric analyses performed. At both 1 and 3 weeks, newly formed bone was observed mainly in the upper wall of the extraction socket in all groups. Morphometric analyses revealed that the trabecular thickness in both experimental groups at 1 week was significantly greater than that in the control. LMHF vibration stimuli had a positive effect on bone at the early stage of bone healing, particularly in trabecular thickness, at the incisor extraction socket.

Topics: Bone , Vibration
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(9):091002-091002-9. doi:10.1115/1.4007175.

Porohyperviscoelastic (PHVE) modeling gives a simplified continuum approximation of pore fluid behavior within the parenchyma of liver tissue. This modeling approach is particularly applicable to tissue engineering of artificial livers, where the inherent complexity of the engineered scaffolds prevents the use of computational fluid dynamics. The objectives of this study were to simultaneously predict the experimental parenchymal fluid pressure (PFP) and compression response in a PHVE liver model. The model PFP matched the experimental measurements (318 Pa) to within 1.5%. Linear regression of both phases of compression, ramp, and hold, demonstrated a strong correlation between the model and the experimental reaction force (p<0.5). The ability of this PVE model to accurately predict both fluid and solid behavior is important due to the highly vascularized nature of liver tissue and the mechanosensitivity of liver cells to solid matrix and fluid flow properties.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(9):091003-091003-10. doi:10.1115/1.4007279.

Cerebral aneurysms are a common cause of death and disability. Of all the cardiovascular diseases, aneurysms are perhaps the most strongly linked with the local fluid mechanic environment. Aside from early in vivo clinical work that hinted at the possibility of high-frequency intra-aneurysmal velocity oscillations, flow in cerebral aneurysms is most often assumed to be laminar. This work investigates, through the use of numerical simulations, the potential for disturbed flow to exist in the terminal aneurysm of the basilar bifurcation. The nature of the disturbed flow is explored using a series of four idealized basilar tip models, and the results supported by four patient specific terminal basilar tip aneurysms. All four idealized models demonstrated instability in the inflow jet through high frequency fluctuations in the velocity and the pressure at approximately 120 Hz. The instability arises through a breakdown of the inflow jet, which begins to oscillate upon entering the aneurysm. The wall shear stress undergoes similar high-frequency oscillations in both magnitude and direction. The neck and dome regions of the aneurysm present 180 deg changes in the direction of the wall shear stress, due to the formation of small recirculation zones near the shear layer of the jet (at the frequency of the inflow jet oscillation) and the oscillation of the impingement zone on the dome of the aneurysm, respectively. Similar results were observed in the patient-specific models, which showed high frequency fluctuations at approximately 112 Hz in two of the four models and oscillations in the magnitude and direction of the wall shear stress. These results demonstrate that there is potential for disturbed laminar unsteady flow in the terminal aneurysm of the basilar bifurcation. The instabilities appear similar to the first instability mode of a free round jet.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(9):091004-091004-9. doi:10.1115/1.4007096.

Recent advances in the treatment of cancer involving therapeutic agents have shown promising results. However, treatment efficacy can be limited due to inadequate and uneven uptake in solid tumors, thereby making the prediction of drug transport important for developing effective therapeutic strategies. In this study, a patient-specific computational porous media model (voxelized model) was developed for predicting the interstitial flow field and distribution of a systemically delivered magnetic resonance (MR) visible tracer in a tumor. The benefits of a voxel approach include less labor and less computational time (approximately an order of magnitude reduction compared to the traditional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach developed earlier by our group). The model results were compared with that obtained from a previous approach based on unstructured meshes along with MR-measured tracer concentration data within tumors, using statistical analysis and qualitative representations. The statistical analysis indicated the similarity between the structured and unstructured models’ results with a low root mean square error (RMS) and a high correlation coefficient. The voxelized model captured features of the flow field and tracer distribution such as high interstitial fluid pressure inside the tumor and the heterogeneous distribution of the tracer. Predictions of tracer distribution by the voxelized approach also resulted in low RMS error when compared with MR-measured data over a 1 h time course. The similarity in the voxelized model results with experiment and the nonvoxelized model predictions were maintained across three different tumors. Overall, the voxelized model serves as a reliable and swift alternative to approaches using unstructured meshes in predicting extracellular transport within tumors.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(9):091005-091005-10. doi:10.1115/1.4007097.

Excessive tissue-level forces communicated to the microstructure and extracellular matrix of soft tissues can lead to damage and failure through poorly understood physical processes that are multiscale in nature. In this work, we propose a multiscale mechanical model for the failure of collagenous soft tissues that incorporates spatial heterogeneity in the microstructure and links the failure of discrete collagen fibers to the material response of the tissue. The model, which is based on experimental failure data derived from different collagen gel geometries, was able to predict the mechanical response and failure of type I collagen gels, and it demonstrated that a fiber-based rule (at the micrometer scale) for discrete failure can strongly shape the macroscale failure response of the gel (at the millimeter scale). The model may be a useful tool in predicting the macroscale failure conditions for soft tissues and engineered tissue analogs. In addition, the multiscale model provides a framework for the study of failure in complex fiber-based mechanical systems in general.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(9):091006-091006-6. doi:10.1115/1.4007178.

The dynamic movements associated with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury during jump landing suggest that limb segment angular velocity can provide important information for understanding the conditions that lead to an injury. Angular velocity measures could provide a quick and simple method of assessing injury risk without the constraints of a laboratory. The objective of this study was to assess the inter-subject variations and the sensitivity of the thigh and shank segment angular velocity in order to determine if these measures could be used to characterize jump landing mechanisms. Additionally, this study tested the correlation between angular velocity and the knee abduction moment. Thirty-six healthy participants (18 male) performed drop jumps with bilateral and unilateral landing. Thigh and shank angular velocities were measured by a wearable inertial-based system, and external knee moments were measured using a marker-based system. Discrete parameters were extracted from the data and compared between systems. For both jumping tasks, the angular velocity curves were well defined movement patterns with high inter-subject similarity in the sagittal plane and moderate to good similarity in the coronal and transverse planes. The angular velocity parameters were also able to detect differences between the two jumping tasks that were consistent across subjects. Furthermore, the coronal angular velocities were significantly correlated with the knee abduction moment (R of 0.28–0.51), which is a strong indicator of ACL injury risk. This study suggested that the thigh and shank angular velocities, which describe the angular dynamics of the movement, should be considered in future studies about ACL injury mechanisms.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(9):091007-091007-10. doi:10.1115/1.4007365.

Background. Scleral biomechanical properties may be important in the pathogenesis and progression of glaucoma. The goal of this study is to develop and validate an ultrasound method for measuring cross-sectional distributive strains in the sclera during elevations of intraocular pressure (IOP). Method of Approach. Porcine globes (n = 5) were tested within 24 hs postmortem. The posterior scleral shells were dissected and mounted onto a custom-built pressurization chamber. A high-frequency (55-MHz) ultrasound system (Vevo660, VisualSonics Inc., Toronto) was employed to acquire the radio frequency data during scans of the posterior pole along both circumferential and meridian directions. The IOP was gradually increased from 5 to 45 mmHg. The displacement fields were obtained from correlation-based ultrasound speckle tracking. A least-square strain estimator was used to calculate the strains in both axial and lateral directions. Experimental validation was performed by comparing tissue displacements calculated from ultrasound speckle tracking with those induced by an actuator. Theoretical analysis and simulation experiments were performed to optimize the ultrasound speckle tracking method and evaluate the accuracy and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in strain estimation. Results. Porcine sclera exhibited significantly larger axial strains (e.g., −5.1 ± 1.5% at 45 mmHg, meridian direction) than lateral strains (e.g., 2.2 ± 0.7% at 45 mmHg, meridian direction) during IOP elevations (P’s < 0.01). The strain magnitudes increased nonlinearly with pressure increase. The strain maps displayed heterogeneity through the thickness. The lateral strains were significantly smaller in the circumferential direction than the meridian direction at 45 mmHg (P < 0.05). Experimental validation showed that the ultrasound speckle tracking method was capable of tracking displacements at the accuracy of sub-micron to micron. Theoretical analysis predicted the dependence of the strain estimation SNR on the strain level, as well as signal processing parameters such as kernel size. Simulation results showed that ultrasound speckle tracking had a high accuracy for estimating strains of 1–5% and a high SNR for strains of 0.5–5%. Conclusions. A new experimental method based on ultrasound speckle tracking has been developed for obtaining cross-sectional strain maps of the posterior sclera. This method provides a useful tool to examine distributive strains through the thickness of the sclera during elevations of IOP.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Technical Briefs

J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(9):094501-094501-5. doi:10.1115/1.4007176.

Understanding the stress relaxation behavior of the compression bandage could be very useful in determining the behavior of the interface pressure exerted by the bandage on a limb during the course of the compression treatment. There has been no comprehensive study in the literature to investigate the pressure profile (interface pressure with time) generated by a compression bandage when applied at different levels of strain. The present study attempts to describe the pressure profile, with the use of a quasi-linear viscoelastic model, generated by a compression bandage during compression therapy. The quasi-linear viscoelastic (QLV) theory proposed by Fung (Fung, 1972, “Stress Strain History Relations of Soft Tissues in Simple Elongation,” Biomechanics: Its Foundations and Objectives, Y. C. Fung, N. Perrone, and M. Anliker, eds., Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, pp. 181–207). was used to model the nonlinear time- and history-dependent relaxation behavior of the bandage using the ramp strain approach. The regression analysis was done to find the correlation between the pressure profile and the relaxation behavior of the bandage. The parameters of the QLV model, describing the relaxation behavior of the bandage, were used to determine the pressure profile generated by the bandage at different levels of strain. The relaxation behaviors of the bandage at different levels of strain were well described by the QLV model parameters. A high correlation coefficient (nearly 0.98) shows a good correlation of the pressure profile with the stress relaxation behavior of the bandage.The prediction of the pressure profile using the QLV model parameters were in agreement with the experimental data. The pressure profile generated by a compression bandage could be predicted using the QLV model describing the nonlinear relaxation behavior of the bandage. This new application of the QLV theory helps in evaluating the bandage performance during compression therapy as scientific wound care management.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2012;134(9):094502-094502-7. doi:10.1115/1.4007249.

Biomechanical preconditioning of biological specimens by cyclic loading is routinely done presumably to stabilize properties prior to the main phase of a study. However, no prior studies have actually measured these effects for whole bone of any kind. The aim of this study, therefore, was to quantify these effects for whole bones. Fourteen matched pairs of fresh-frozen intact cadaveric canine femurs were sinusoidally loaded in 4-point bending from 50 N to 300 N at 1 Hz for 25 cycles. All femurs were tested in both anteroposterior (AP) and mediolateral (ML) bending planes. Bending stiffness (i.e., slope of the force-vs-displacement curve) and linearity R2 (i.e., coefficient of determination) of each loading cycle were measured and compared statistically to determine the effect of limb side, cycle number, and bending plane. Stiffnesses rose from 809.7 to 867.7 N/mm (AP, left), 847.3 to 915.6 N/mm (AP, right), 829.2 to 892.5 N/mm (AP, combined), 538.7 to 580.4 N/mm (ML, left), 568.9 to 613.8 N/mm (ML, right), and 553.8 to 597.1 N/mm (ML, combined). Linearity R2 rose from 0.96 to 0.99 (AP, left), 0.97 to 0.99 (AP, right), 0.96 to 0.99 (AP, combined), 0.95 to 0.98 (ML, left), 0.94 to 0.98 (ML, right), and 0.95 to 0.98 (ML, combined). Stiffness and linearity R2 versus cycle number were well-described by exponential curves whose values leveled off, respectively, starting at 12 and 5 cycles. For stiffness, there were no statistical differences for left versus right femurs (p = 0.166), but there were effects due to cycle number (p < 0.0001) and AP versus ML bending plane (p < 0.0001). Similarly, for linearity, no statistical differences were noted due to limb side (p = 0.533), but there were effects due to cycle number (p < 0.0001) and AP versus ML bending plane (p = 0.006). A minimum of 12 preconditioning cycles was needed to fully stabilize both the stiffness and linearity of the canine femurs. This is the first study to measure the effects of mechanical preconditioning on whole bones, having some practical implications on research practices.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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