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1.  The Spinal Curvature of Three Different Sitting Positions Analysed in an Open MRI Scanner 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:184016.
Sitting is the most frequently performed posture of everyday life. Biomechanical interactions with office chairs have therefore a long-term effect on our musculoskeletal system and ultimately on our health and wellbeing. This paper highlights the kinematic effect of office chairs on the spinal column and its single segments. Novel chair concepts with multiple degrees of freedom provide enhanced spinal mobility. The angular changes of the spinal column in the sagittal plane in three different sitting positions (forward inclined, reclined, and upright) for six healthy subjects (aged 23 to 45 years) were determined using an open magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. An MRI-compatible and commercially available office chair was adapted for use in the scanner. The midpoint coordinates of the vertebral bodies, the wedge angles of the intervertebral discs, and the lumbar lordotic angle were analysed. The mean lordotic angles were 16.0 ± 8.5° (mean ± standard deviation) in a forward inclined position, 24.7 ± 8.3° in an upright position, and 28.7 ± 8.1° in a reclined position. All segments from T10-T11 to L5-S1 were involved in movement during positional changes, whereas the range of motion in the lower lumbar segments was increased in comparison to the upper segments.
PMCID: PMC3512264  PMID: 23226980
2.  Review of fixation techniques for the four-part fractured proximal humerus in hemiarthroplasty 
The clinical outcome of hemiarthroplasty for proximal humeral fractures is not satisfactory. Secondary fragment dislocation may prevent bone integration; the primary stability by a fixation technique is therefore needed to accomplish tuberosity healing. Present technical comparison of surgical fixation techniques reveals the state-of-the-art approach and highlights promising techniques for enhanced stability.
A classification of available fixation techniques for three- and four part fractures was done. The placement of sutures and cables was described on the basis of anatomical landmarks such as the rotator cuff tendon insertions, the bicipital groove and the surgical neck. Groups with similar properties were categorized.
Materials used for fragment fixation include heavy braided sutures and/or metallic cables, which are passed through drilling holes in the bone fragments. The classification resulted in four distinct groups: A: both tuberosities and shaft are fixed together by one suture, B: single tuberosities are independently connected to the shaft and among each other, C: metallic cables are used in addition to the sutures and D: the fragments are connected by short stitches, close to the fragment borderlines.
A plurality of techniques for the reconstruction of a fractured proximal humerus is found. The categorisation into similar strategies provides a broad overview of present techniques and supports a further development of optimized techniques. Prospective studies are necessary to correlate the technique with the clinical outcome.
PMCID: PMC3158110  PMID: 21762540
3.  Temporal dynamic of wood formation in Pinus cembra along the alpine treeline ecotone and the effect of climate variables 
Trees (Berlin, Germany : West)  2009;23(3):623-635.
We determined the temporal dynamic of cambial activity and xylem development of stone pine (Pinus cembra L.) throughout the treeline ecotone. Repeated micro-sampling of the developing tree ring was carried out during the growing seasons 2006 and 2007 at the timberline (1950 m a.s.l.), treeline (2110 m a.s.l.) and within the krummholz belt (2180 m a.s.l.) and the influence of climate variables on intra-annual wood formation was determined.
At the beginning of both growing seasons, highest numbers of cambial and enlarging cells were observed at the treeline. Soil temperatures at time of initiation of cambial activity were c. 1.5 °C higher at treeline (open canopy) compared to timberline (closed canopy), suggesting that a threshold root-zone temperature is involved in triggering onset of above ground stem growth.
The rate of xylem cell production determined in two weekly intervals during June through August 2006-2007 was significantly correlated with air temperature (temperature sums expressed as degree-days and mean daily maximum temperature) at the timberline only. Lack of significant relationships between tracheid production and temperature variables at the treeline and within the krummholz belt support past dendroclimatological studies that more extreme environmental conditions (e.g., wind exposure, frost desiccation, late frost) increasingly control tree growth above timberline.
Results of this study revealed that spatial and temporal (i.e. year-to-year) variability in timing and dynamic of wood formation of Pinus cembra is strongly influenced by local site factors within the treeline ecotone and the dynamics of seasonal temperature variation, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3078619  PMID: 21509148
Cambium; intra-annual growth; Pinus cembra; temperature; tracheid production
4.  Biomechanical testing of a polymer-based biomaterial for the restoration of spinal stability after nucleotomy 
Surgery for disc herniations can be complicated by two major problems: painful degeneration of the spinal segment and re-herniation. Therefore, we examined an absorbable poly-glycolic acid (PGA) biomaterial, which was lyophilized with hyaluronic acid (HA), for its utility to (a) re-establish spinal stability and to (b) seal annulus fibrosus defects. The biomechanical properties range of motion (ROM), neutral zone (NZ) and a potential annulus sealing capacity were investigated.
Seven bovine, lumbar spinal units were tested in vitro for ROM and NZ in three consecutive stages: (a) intact, (b) following nucleotomy and (c) after insertion of a PGA/HA nucleus-implant. For biomechanical testing, spinal units were mounted on a loading-simulator for spines. In three cycles, axial loading was applied in an excentric mode with 0.5 Nm steps until an applied moment of ± 7.5 Nm was achieved in flexion/extension. ROM and NZ were assessed. These tests were performed without and with annulus sealing by sewing a PGA/HA annulus-implant into the annulus defect.
Spinal stability was significantly impaired after nucleotomy (p < 0.001). Intradiscal implantation of a PGA-HA nucleus-implant, however, restored spinal stability (p < 0.003). There was no statistical difference between the stability provided by the nucleus-implant and the intact stage regarding flexion/extension movements (p = 0.209). During the testing sequences, herniation of biomaterial through the annulus defect into the spinal canal regularly occurred, resulting in compression of neural elements. Sewing a PGA/HA annulus-implant into the annulus defect, however, effectively prevented herniation.
PGA/HA biomaterial seems to be well suited for cell-free and cell-based regenerative treatment strategies in spinal surgery. Its abilities to restore spinal stability and potentially close annulus defects open up new vistas for regenerative approaches to treat intervertebral disc degeneration and for preventing implant herniation.
PMCID: PMC2717058  PMID: 19604373

Results 1-4 (4)