Whether at work or in private life, sitting too much at the computer, too little movement, is a common phenomenon, especially in corona times. The consequence that follows: Many people have back problems. Yet there are many proven preventive measures, such as courses in back exercises or relaxation methods, which are usually also offered and reimbursed by health insurance companies.
"But all this is of little use if the cause of the pain is not clearly defined," says Carlo Dindorf, a scientist in the Department of Sports Science at TU Kaiserslautern. This is precisely what the TUK team is working on together with Jürgen Konradi and the research team of the Interprofessional Study Centre of Motion Research at the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, the medical technology company DIERS International GmbH and other project partners.
The interdisciplinary team is relying on a diagnostic technique that is already well-tested and widespread in practice. "We scan the back with a projector and a camera unit," says Dindorf. This involves projecting a grid of light onto the back. Using so-called raster stereography, an individual model of the spine can thus be generated. A new aspect of the method is the use of AI and machine learning methods. "Our system learns with the help of the data obtained," explains Dindorf. "The more spines are analysed, the better the system and thus our understanding of the spine improves."
This knowledge can help medicine in the future, for example, to better detect malpositions and to provide personalised diagnoses that enable individualised therapy. But the technology is also of interest for professional and amateur sports as well as for basic research in general. The result is a much more differentiated picture and better insight into the function of the spine.
Offene Digitalisierungsallianz Pfalz (Open Digitalisation Alliance Palatinate) is also involved in the project. "Together with Offene Digitalisierungsallianz Pfalz, we are working on transferring our findings into practice in collaboration with other researchers, with stakeholders from the health sector and with companies in the region," says Professor Dr Michael Fröhlich, spokesperson for the Health Innovation Area and head of the Department of Sports Science with a focus on exercise and training science at TUK. "We are getting closer step by step to realising the goal of a more precise, individually targeted medicine that can make its contribution to back health," Fröhlich continues.
The project team will present its work at MEDICA.
MEDICA-tradefair.com; Source: Technische Universität Kaiserslautern