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Personalized neuromusculoskeletal modeling to improve treatment of mobility impairments: A perspective from European research sites


Mobility impairments due to injury or disease have a significant impact on quality of life. Consequently, development of effective treatments to restore or replace lost function is an important societal challenge. In current clinical practice, a treatment plan is often selected from a standard menu of options rather than customized to the unique characteristics of the patient. Furthermore, the treatment selection process is normally based on subjective clinical experience rather than objective prediction of post-treatment function. The net result is treatment methods that are less effective than desired at restoring lost function. This paper discusses the possible use of personalized neuromusculoskeletal computer models to improve customization, objectivity, and ultimately effectiveness of treatments for mobility impairments. The discussion is based on information gathered from academic and industrial research sites throughout Europe, and both clinical and technical aspects of personalized neuromusculoskeletal modeling are explored. On the clinical front, we discuss the purpose and process of personalized neuromusculoskeletal modeling, the application of personalized models to clinical problems, and gaps in clinical application. On the technical front, we discuss current capabilities of personalized neuromusculoskeletal models along with technical gaps that limit future clinical application. We conclude by summarizing recommendations for future research efforts that would allow personalized neuromusculoskeletal models to make the greatest impact possible on treatment design for mobility impairments. © 2012 Fregly et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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