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BioE professor offers imaging insight to help MPS patients


People commonly associate body aches and pains with bones, joints, or the central nervous system, but a large portion of patients who experience discomfort have myofascial pain syndrome. This syndrome, known as MPS, is distinguished by pain that comes from muscles and connected soft tissues such as fascia.

While the medical community has a number of surgical and pharmaceutical treatments for skeletal and central nervous system pain issues, it still has a way to go to understand MPS and the connection between fascia and muscles. Recently, Richard and Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering Associate Professor Dieter Klatt was a guest on an expert panel that discussed how elastography imaging could be used to help patients who have MPS.

Klatt, along with Professor Tom Royston and collaborators at Northwestern University and the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, are developing noninvasive tools for assessing muscle structure and function based on imaging muscle mechanical properties.

Klatt added that he has used elastography to determine the mechanical properties of muscle tissue in healthy humans in the past, and told his fellow panelists how the imagining technique is used to diagnose muscle conditions in general and how it can be applied to assess and quantify myofascial pain.

The panel was part of the National Institutes of Health’s HEAL Myofascial Pain Workshop that was held virtually on Sept. 16 and Sept. 17. The NIH HEAL Initiative sponsored the event to look into research and technology opportunities to address MPS

Klatt said around 70 speakers and panelists participated in the workshop and approximately 1,000 others registered to view the event live as it unfolded.

“It was a great workshop with an interdisciplinary group of experts including clinicians, engineers, and technicians, that explored how we can quantify myofascial pain, which will be critical to guide clinicians towards what type of therapy they need to use and to measure the effectiveness of a specific therapy,” Klatt said.