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 - Rehabilitation Sciences - Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences
Motor Function Analysis
Our laboratory has made a significant progress in research of motor function using morphological, biochemical, physiological and biomechanical methodology. From the standpoint of rehabilitation, nervous system, skeletal muscles and articular cartilage are especially studied in our laboratory and a novel walking assist system is also studied in the clinical field of elderly persons and patients with osteoarthritis. In the near future, research in community and sports fields will be started. The aim of our laboratory is to bring up talented young scientists who can promote studies in prevention for disease and who can contribute to rehabilitation for minimizing functional disabilities based on elucidation of mechanisms of disease and disabilities.

  Hiroshi Kuroki/Shigehito Yamada
Research and Education
Recent studies in our laboratory have revealed novel evidences on properties of ultrasound echo from articularcatilage, roles of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling,and properties of the skeletal muscle of cerebral palsy. Based on these achievements, we are currently pursuing the following research projects.

1) Because articular cartilage has limited healing capacity, the cartilage of osteoarthritis rarely repair spontaneously. Raw wave of ultrasound echo from articular cartilage and its wavelet transform reveals features of acoustic properties in such osteoarthritic cartilage and postoperative cartilage (Figure 1). Our ultrasound assessment for articular cartilage is one of the advanced research projects in the world. Relationship between ultrasound echo and collagen is also studied. Based on these evidences, rehabilitation for human knee cartilage and prevention of functional disability of knees are promoted in our clinical field.

2) A novel walking-assist system is studied. In this system the elderly persons and patients with osteoarthritis can walk with low energy and without joint pain because their body weight can be reduced to 25 % using positive air pressure (Figure 2).

3) Morphogenesis of human embryos: Using MR microscopy and phase-contrast X-ray computed tomography (CT), tiny structure of human embryos have been visualized and analyzed. MR microscopy was set up originally for human embryo, and phase-contrast X-ray CT can visualize soft tissue sample such as embryos in the highest digital resolution.

4)Walking training for the patients with central nervous system disorders and muscle strengthening for the children with central nervous system disorders are studied.

5) Psychological process in palliative medicine and terminal care for the cancer patients is studied.

6) Rehabilitation approach and assessment for the elderly people is studied.

In pursuing these research projects, we focus on training of scientists in a wide variety of techniques in ultrasound measurement of articular cartilage, histopathology of degenerated cartilage, chondrocyte culture, and gait rehabilitation as well as up-to-date knowledge in the related fields. We welcome young students to our laboratory and hope them working together to create new aspects in rehabilitation research.

Motor Function Analysis
Professor Hiroshi Kuroki
Shigehito Yamada

Koji Ohata
Yuko Maeda
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Raw waves of echo from articular cartilage (bottom) and wavelet transform (top)
A novel walking assist system using positive air pressure
MR images of 6-, 7-, and 8-week human embryos
Recent Publications
1. Ohata K, Tsuboyama T, Haruta T, Ichihashi N, Nakamura T. Longitudinal change in muscle and fat thickness in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2009; May 11. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Kuroki H, Nakagawa Y, Mori K, Kobayashi M, Yasura K, Okamoto Y, Suzuki T, Nishitani K, Nakamura T. Ultrasound has the potential to detect degeneration of articular cartilage clinically, even if the information is obtained from an indirect measurement of intrinsic physical characteristics. Arthritis Res Ther. 2009;11(3):408.
3. Kuroki H, Nakagawa Y, Mori K, Kobayashi M, Nakamura S, Nishitani K, Shirai T, Nakamura T. Ultrasound properties of articular cartilage immediately after osteochondral grafting surgery: in cases of traumatic cartilage lesions and osteonecrosis. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2009;17(1):11-8.
4. Maeda Y, Kobori E, Kubota Y, Seki S, Takada K, Kuramoto N, Hiraide A, Morimoto T. Major qualitative research methods in patient-doctor communication studies. Gen Med 2008;9(1):5-12.
5. Komada M, Saitsu H, Kinboshi M, Miura T, Shiota K, Ishibashi M. Hedgehog signaling is involved in development of the neocortex. Development. 2008;135(16):2717-27.
6. Miura T, Hartmann D, Kinboshi M, Komada M, Ishibashi M, Shiota K: The cyst-branch difference in developing chick lung results from a different morphogen diffusion coefficient. Mech Dev. 2009;126:160-172.
7. Kuroki H, Nakagawa Y, Mori K, Kobayashi M, Yasura K, Okamoto Y, Suzuki T, Nishitani K, Nakamura T. Ultrasound properties of articular cartilage in the tibio-femoral joint in knee osteoarthritis: relation to clinical assessment (International Cartilage Repair Society grade). Arthritis Res Ther. 2008;10(4):R78.
8. Komada M, Saitsu H, Shiota K, Ishibashi M. Expression of Fgf15 is regulated by both activator and repressor forms of Gli2 in vitro. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008;369(2):350-6.
9. Ohata K, Tsuboyama T, Haruta T, Ichihashi N, Kato T, Nakamura T. Relation between muscle thickness, spasticity, and activity limitations in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2008;50(2):152-6.