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Rice University develops software for movement impairment


 Rice University

Rice University’s engineering team has developed new software that is the first of its kind, to help those with movement impairments.

An engineering team from Rice University has developed the first open-source software of its kind that builds and uses individual patient-specific computer models of movement to optimize therapies for neurologic and orthopedic mobility impairments.

The Neuromusculoskeletal Modeling (NMSM) Pipeline software, created by B.J. Fregly and colleagues in the Rice Computational Neuromechanics Lab with funding from the National Institutes of Health, is now accessible to clinician/engineer teams who wish to use computer-aided engineering for clinical treatment design.

For patients with movement impairments brought on by stroke, osteoarthritis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, limb amputation, and even some types of cancer, the software could be used to design orthopedic surgical plans, neurorehabilitation interventions, physical therapy routines, and prosthetic devices that maximize the recovery of lost function.

The NMSM Pipeline, which has been in development for many years, improves upon current software used to model, simulate, and analyze the musculoskeletal system by making it practical for clinical treatment planning.

The physics-based software combines a variety of physiological models, such as those of central nervous system (CNS) control, muscle force production, and metabolic energy expenditure.

Fregly's team used data from a post-stroke person walking at their self-selected speed of 0.5 meters per second to produce three different predictions of how the subject would move at their personal fastest speed per second.

For patients undergoing cardiac procedures, an algorithmic simulation tool called HeartFlow is already being used to determine the best location for stent placement.

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