American Academy of Spine Physicians has engaged in a number of special projects. Each of the projects was initiated to further the education of the patient, the public and the physician. The following is a list of the current AASP projects.
PATIENT INFORMATION CENTER (PIC)
The American Academy of Spine Physicians has assigned a task force to create a database of information about the spine, spine disorders and spinecare. The database will include text, line drawings, multi-dimensional animated graphics and audiovisual programs. The AASP task force includes writers, medical artists and animators. The AASP strives to develop and maintain the largest database of educational information for patients and the public about the spine, spine disorders, spine-related products and spinecare. The text, illustrations and animations will be created in a digital format so that they can be accessed across the internet using the AASP Patient Information Center (PIC). AASP software programmers designed the unique PIC which is a sophisticated but user friendly interface used to access select areas of the AASP database.
The PIC technology was developed to provide patients and the public with an opportunity to retrieve need to know information in a multimedia format. The PIC allows information to be displayed in a variety of formats, including on a desktop computer screen, on a flat LCD or plasma screen (that can be placed on the wall next to a viewbox), on an HDTV in a waiting room, through an LCD system on a large format screen in a lecture hall or on a patient resource center (computer station) within a medical office setting in the future. Portions of the AASP database will be used to publish reference books, self-help books and CD ROMs for the public.
HUMAN PERFORMANCE LABORATORY
The American Academy of Spine Physicians is helping learn more about human physical performance and the spine. The AASP helped establish a world class Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) at the Marine Military Academy (MMA). The MMA now has one of the most capable neuromuscular testing and spine testing facilities in the country.
The HPL project has been divided into four primary phases of development. The first phase, the neuromuscular testing facility is completed. Both large and small muscle groups can be assessed in the lab. The completion of all four phases will allow for comprehensive assessment, including region-specific neuromuscular testing, gait assessment, and comprehensive movement analysis.
The four proposed phases of Lab development are:
1. Neuromuscular Performance Center
2. Gait Assessment Center
3. Integrated Biomechanics Center (Field Testing)
4. Video Biomotion Review Center
Phase 3 of the project will incorporate the use of an advanced digital video capture system whereas phase 4, the Biomotion Review Center, will be a theater with a large screen and a digital projector which is linked to the labís computer database. The Biomotion Review Center will be used to analyze and review integrated movement and athletic performance as it relates to other categories of testing
The cooperative effort of the MMA and the AASP has lead to an extraordinary opportunity to acquire multivariate statistics about spinal, pelvic and extremity neuromuscular performance on a large body of young and healthy participants. Sport specific testing will also be performed.
Categories of neuromuscular testing include strength, endurance, range of motion, flexibility, torque, reaction time, velocity based performance, range of motion specific performance, balance and coordination.
The Human Performance Laboratory is linked through the Internet to the offices of the American Academy of Spine Physicians. The AASP will acquire statistical data on spinal and extremity biomechanics as well as neuromuscular performance. The AASP will help analyze the data.
3-DIMENSIONAL COMPUTERIZED SPINE MODEL
The American Academy of Spine Physicians (AASP) is developing a task force comprised of members of the AASP scientific council, medical artists, and computer programmers to create a digital 3-dimensional spine. To date a detailed 3-dimensional spinal column and spinal cord have been rendered. The major arterial blood supply has also been added to the spinal cord. Details will continue to be added to the dimensional spine. The 3-D model can be rotated, dissected and magnified on the computer screen. It can be used to demonstrate the progression of and evaluation of spine disorders, including degenerative changes. The 3-dimensional spine model will serve many purposes, including as a teaching aid for physicians, as a three dimensional reference for therapeutic planning and as base art for developing derivative spine graphics and animations. The AASP strives to produce the most detailed digital (computerized) model of the spine, the development of 3-dimensional spine model details and features will be ongoing.
THE INTERVERTEBRAL DISC PROJECT
The American Academy of Spine Physicians is working on a comprehensive text, Intervertebral Disc in Health and Disease. The text will be written for healthcare professionals and will be used to educate spine specialists and spine physicians. The text will cover subjects ranging from histology and physiology to biomechanics and advanced imaging of the intervertebral disc. This will be made available on CD ROM and in an electronic book format. The AASPís three dimensional spine model will be used to create some of the disc graphics.
MAGNETIC RESONANCE SPECTROSCOPY OF THE SPINE
Members of the Scientific Council of the American Academy of Spine Physicians (AASP) have initiated discussions with prominent neuroradiologists to discuss to begin a research project utilizing an emerging new tool in the field of neuroimaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The techniques of in vivo magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy have been established over the past two decades. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a non-invasive analytical technique that has been used to study metabolic changes in brain tumors, strokes, seizure disorders, Alzheimer's disease, depression and other diseases affecting the brain. It has also been used to study the metabolism of other organs.
The technology provides a window to assess tissue metabolism in the living subject. The AASP is investigating whether it is currently feasible to begin acquiring biochemical information about the spine using MRS to evaluate the intervertebral disc in the normal, disease and post-interventional states. The current role of MRS in diagnosis and therapeutic planning for the spine has not been established at this time.