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TEDx talk focuses on osteoarthritis treatment

Published: 6 June 2018 at 11:00


Dr Hillstrom to discuss new work measuring joint pressure using computer simulations

Dr Rajshree Hillstrom will explain how engineering can be used to solve medical problems associated with osteoarthritis at a TEDx talk at RWTH Aachen University on Saturday, 9 June.

Dr Hillstrom, Reader in Medical Engineering and Director of the Medical Engineering Research Group at Anglia Ruskin University, is working on new ways of successfully treating osteoarthritis, a debilitating and degenerative joint disease.

Osteoarthritis is often caused by excessive joint pressure and is a leading cause of disability. Part of Dr Hillstrom’s TEDx talk in Germany will show how, by developing computer simulations of joints with different severities of cartilage damage, it is possible to accurately estimate the pressure placed on them which can improve the success of treatments such as internal offloading knee implants.

Dr Hillstrom said: 

“Osteoarthritis is estimated to cost between 1% and 2.5% of the gross national product in Australia, the USA and countries in Europe.  It increases with age and obesity, and therefore the social and economic impact is expected to increase with time, given the current demographics trends.

“Osteoarthritis can progress from mild to moderate or severe. There are no cures for osteoarthritis and end-stage disease is treated by a joint replacement, which is invasive and involves the removal of natural tissues. 

“Excessive joint contact pressure is the common pathway that damages tissues within the joint. Therefore, information about pressure generated within the joint is useful to improve surgical reconstruction techniques of the osteoarthritic joint. 

“The knee is one of the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. Internal unloading knee implants which are placed underneath the skin and fixed to the bones, without violating the tissues, are designed to offload the knee without violating natural joint tissues.

“However, it is not usually possible to insert a sensor inside the joint to obtain pressure measurements. The work we do in the Medical Engineering Research Group involves the development of computational methods to predict joint pressures to compare the performance of surgical treatment methods and implant designs.”

TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to spreading “ideas worth sharing”. More information about TEDx Aachen can be found at hHttps://www.tedxrwthaachen.de/.