Non-invasive quantification of skeletal muscle plasticity from disease, disuse, and aging is a key area of research to the fields of physical therapy, physiology, rehabilitation, muscle biology, aging, and imaging.
Currently, assessment of therapeutic approaches in both children with DMD and animal models relies heavily on muscle biopsies. This invasive technique is problematic in evaluating the efficacy of interventions in patients with DMD who often have extensive muscle damage and cardiac pathology. Drs. Krista Vandenborne, Glenn Walter, and Sean Forbes lead research utilizing Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) to study muscle adaptations in both patient populations and animal models. Projects focus on the development and utilization of magnetic resonance to study muscle damage muscle fatigue and muscle atrophy. Magnetic resonance has the distinct advantage that it is a noninvasive technique and well suited to provide structural, physiological and functional information. The research team currently leads national efforts to develop magnetic resonance imaging as a noninvasive biomarker for clinical trials in muscular dystrophy. More information on this cutting edge effort can be found on www.imagingdmd.org.