Integrated Systems Engineering
Reverse Engineering the Human Spine
Disorders of the lumbar and cervical spine affect up to 80 percent of adults and cost more than $100 billion per year to treat. The causal pathway associated with these disorders is unclear, however—and clinical treatments for them are often unsuccessful. While the scientific literature cites physical work requirements, psychosocial influences, and hereditary factors as contributors to low back pain, the mechanisms by which these factors increase risk have not been well understood. Using new methods to study the human spine, William Marras has discovered how physical, psychological, and organizational factors can influence the causal pathway associated with low back disorders. Most recently, he launched the Spine Research Institute, which uses advanced technologies to enhance the prevention, evaluation and treatment of spine disorders. In this talk, Marras will discuss insights and future directions for research, including 3D mapping of the human spine. These detailed computer visualizations enable doctors to test potential surgical solutions virtually—and tailor treatment to the patient individually.
Marras is Honda Professor in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering. He is the Institute Director & Scientific Director of the Spine Research Institute.
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