Magnetic resonance imaging is all well and good for spine imaging, but it has its limitations and doesn’t reveal all problems that may be present. Researchers at University of Alberta, Canada and University of Southern Denmark have been testing whether vibration can be used to assess the spine and identify conditions that may be hidden from other imaging methods.
The study involved twins that had similar spines versus ones that have significantly different backs due to one having suffered from injury or disease. The technology used is being commercialized by VibeDx, a spinoff of the University of Alberta. A small probe is used to apply vibrations to the lower back while nearby sensors measured the returning vibrational signal.
The findings showed that twins that had similar spines, as verified using MRI, had similar readings coming from the sensors. Twins with substantially different spines showed dissimilar results.
While there’s hope that this new technology may replace MRI in certain cases, the real excitement is that it may turn out to be a completely novel and complementary method for spine analysis.
Here’s video showing how the experiments were conducted: