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Human Structure and Function Laboratory

Laboratory director: Stuart J. Warden, PT, PhD, FACSM

Major pieces of equipment:

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry

Model: Hologic Discovery-W

Description: Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) uses small amounts of X-ray radiation at two different energies to provide very accurate assessments of bone health and body composition. Bone health assessments using DXA are considered the 'gold standard' for diagnosing osteoporosis.

Uses: The DXA within the lab can be used to provide the following measures:

  • Whole-body, spine, hip and forearm bone mass and density
  • Whole and regional body composition

Peripheral quantitative computed tomography

Models: Stratec XCT 3000 pQCT

Description: Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) uses small amounts of X-ray radiation to take cross-sectional images of the arms and legs. These images are used to assess bone health and muscle size in the extremities. pQCT has advantages over DXA as it: (1) assesses bone in three dimensions allowing for true measures of density; (2) provides accurate measures of bone and muscle size, and; (3) separate bones into different compartments (cortical vs. trabecular)

Uses: The pQCT within the CRL can be used to take the following measures:

  • Volumetric bone mineral density
  • Bone mineral content
  • Bone geometry (area, circumference, thickness)
  • Indices of bone strength (section modulus, moment of inertia, strength strain index)
  • Muscle cross-sectional area

Isokinetic dynamometry

Model: Biodex system 2 isokinetic dynamometer

Description: An isokinetic dynamometer is a versatile machine capable of assessing numerous unique features of muscle performance. In particular, it can be used to assess the ability of muscles to produce torque during isokinetic contractions. An isokinetic contraction is one in which the muscle contracts and shortens at a constant speed. The isokinetic dynamometer allows this by matching the torque being produced by the muscles to permit the joints to move at a constant rate.

Uses: The isokinetic dynamometer within the CRL can be used to measure concentric, eccentric, and isometric muscle torque at speeds ranging from 0°/s to 500°/s.

Balance testing

Model: Neurocom SMART Balance Master

Description: The SMART Balance Master provides objective assessment and retraining of the sensory and voluntary motor control of balance with visual biofeedback on either a stable or unstable support surface and in a stable or dynamic visual environment.

Uses: The Neurocom SMART Balance Master within the CRL can be used to assess for sensory and motor impairments, and functional limitations.