RESEARCH REPORT: Anti-gravity treadmill in tests for knee rehab

Lynne Friedmann is a science writer based in Solana Beach. Her regular column features local science news. Any comments, contact

By Lynne Friedmann

Scientists at the Shiley Center for Orthopaedic Research and Education (SCORE) at Scripps Clinic are conducting a study of a new anti-gravity treadmill for knee rehabilitation. ased on technology developed by NASA, the treadmill simulates a weightless environment by using air pressure to lift the patient and reduce gravitational forces on the lower extremities. This allows people to run or walk at a fraction of their weight. For those recovering from knee surgery, less force on the joint often means less pain.

The four patients participating in the current study are as unique as the anti-gravity treadmill being tested: All possess an artificial joint called the electronic knee (e-knee) that contains transducers to measure actual forces inside the knee. As e-knee patients run or walk on the treadmill, precise data on how much weight is unloaded from the joint is recorded. With that information, physical therapists may be able to refine rehab protocols and speed up recovery following lower joint surgeries.

Due in part to the aging and active boomer generation, demand for total knee replacements in the United States is predicted to grow by 673 percent – upwards of 3.5 million – by the year 2030, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. More information, including video, at

Implanted glucose sensor
Bioengineers at UCSD and GlySens Incorporated have developed an implantable glucose sensor and wireless telemetry system that continuously monitors tissue glucose and transmits the information to an external receiver. In animal models, the device ran successfully for more than 500 days. Next come human clinical trials and years along the regulatory pathway before the device can be considered for clinical use. Currently, there are short-term, needle-like glucose sensors on the market but they need replacement every three to seven days. Otherwise, diabetics monitor their glucose levels via repeated finger sticking.

The ultimate goal of an implantable glucose sensor is to limit the ups and downs of blood glucose levels, known as “glucose excursions” that are responsible for the long-term health problems associated with both Type 1 and 2 diabetes. Study results appear in the journal Science Translational Medicine. News release at

Lipid locations pinpointed
Lipids, which include fats and oils, serve as the building blocks for cells and as key energy sources for the body. Because most serious diseases are linked to specific organelle dysfunction, understanding where lipids are located — in a cell’s nucleus, mitochondria, membrane, or other organelle — and what lipids do at the subcellular level is important in disease treatment and prevention efforts.

Now researchers at UCSD School of Medicine report mapping for the first time the locations of specific lipids within a cell.

The study involved concurrent work that identified more than 220 individual molecular lipid species. With that information, lipid mapping of a cultured mouse macrophage (white blood cell) took place by analyzing cells both at rest and activated (simulating an infection response). Researchers discovered that in the active state numerous lipids changed in abundance in the macrophage membrane and organelles. The paper appears in the Journal of Lipid Research. News release at

Related posts:

  1. RESEARCH REPORT: Project engineers preservation of cultural treasures
  2. New anti-gravity treadmill being tested at Scripps
  3. RESEARCH REPORT: Brain-cell death cause revealed
  4. Surfboard Science: UCSD students develop data on the speed of surfing
  5. Frank Garland, UCSD professor known for studying vitamin D-cancer link, dies

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Posted by Halie Johnson on Aug 31, 2010. Filed under Columns, Health & Science, News, Research Report. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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