Emphasizing The Study Of Human Motion To Improve Patient Outcomes

David G. Armstrong DPM MD PhD

We are pleased to announce the formation of the Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance (iCAMP) at the University of Arizona. This consortium will be lead by Bijan Najafi, PhD, a biomedical engineer and renowned expert on human motion.

Comprised of teams from podiatric and vascular surgery, orthopedics, nursing, geriatrics, anthropology and engineering, iCAMP researchers will be studying physical activity patterns, gait parameters and three-dimensional joint structures through high-tech sensors that are embedded in shirts, socks, straps and patches worn by patients.

Using the technology of intelligent textiles in clothing that a person hardly knows is there, we can reduce pre- and post-surgical complications, and speed recovery.

While we talk about measuring things in medicine and surgery, we really don’t do a very good job. Real questions like “How does this patient move through the world and what can I do to make that better?” are still secondary to things like blood tests and X-rays. In fact, I would argue that these are the questions we should be asking. This is independent of specialty.

What we are finding — under the leadership of Dr. Najafi and our SALSA/iCAMP collaborative — is that there may be fundamental changes in activity, balance and motion that occur pre- and postoperatively from bunions to implants.

Airplanes usually have more problems on takeoff and landing in comparison to mid-flight issues. We believe the same is true of people. Collection and organization of activity and position may ultimately be more important than what happens in “human cruising altitude.”

We are really interested in developing and changing the way people think about measurement, activity and their world. We believe, as we have said for many years, that people will subscribe to services that will offer them information and security (and maybe even entertainment) just as their Hulu, Netflix and home security system do for them now.

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