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Pioneering ultrasound imaging methods for neuromuscular diagnostics

Research project Studies of skeletal muscle physiology and diagnostics of their diseases are today carried out using electromyographical methods. These have a limited field-of-view in the muscle tissue. In this project we aim to develop ultrasound imaging based techniques for wide field-of-view.

Skeletal muscles comprise muscle cells that are grouped in so called motor units, and the muscle produces its force by quantal recruitment of these units. In this project we aim to develop non-invasive ultrasound imaging methods to study the properties of motor units. This new approach – e.g. allowing a large field-of-view – is expected to provide new knowledge on basic skeletal muscle biology and new diagnostic methods for neuromuscular diagnostics.

Head of project

Christer Grönlund
Adjunct associate professor
E-mail
Email

Project overview

Project period:

2016-01-01 2024-12-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Radiation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

Research subject

Medical technology, Neurosciences

External funding

Swedish Research Council, The Kempe Foundation

Project description

Skeletal muscles comprise muscle cells that are grouped in so called motor units, and the muscle produces its force by quantal recruitment of these units. Diseases that change the properties of the muscle cells and/or motor nerves form the brain controlling the activation of the units, are today diagnosed using invasive techniques, so called needle-electromyography. In this project we aim to develop non-invasive ultrasound imaging methods to study the properties of motor units.

The motivation to use ultrasound imaging is connected to the excitation-contraction coupling mechanism of the muscle cells, were the muscle cell is electrically depolarized upon activation via a nerve from the brain and leading to a transient mechanical shortening and thickening of the muscle cells. This new approach – e.g. allowing a large field-of-view – is expected to provide new knowledge on basic skeletal muscle biology and new diagnostic methods for neuromuscular diagnostics.

 

Publications per 2020-06:

·       Rohlén R, Stålberg E, Stöverud KH, Yu J, Grönlund C, ”A method for identification of motor units in skeletal muscle voluntary contractions using ultrafast ultrasound imaging – Simulations and experimental tests”, IEEE Access, 2020

·       Rohlén R, Stålberg E, Grönlund C, “Ultrafast ultrasound imaging of motor units in skeletal muscle during voluntary contractions – A pilot validation study by using needle-EMG “, Proceedings of the IEEE EMBS, Berlin, 2019

·       Lindkvist M, Granåsen G, Grönlund C, “Precontractile optical response during excitation-contraction in human muscle revealed by non-invasive high-speed spatiotemporal NIR measurement”, Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group), 2018

·       Grönlund C, Claesson K, Holtermann A, “Imaging 2-D mechanical waves of skeletal muscle contraction”, J Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, 39, 360-369, 2013

External funding