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Utilising Canon Medical Systems specialist ultrasound

A runner about to start a lap

The Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) is working with Canon Medical Systems to gain insight into health and wellbeing issues that can affect a range of people including elite athletes’ performance, the rehabilitation of stroke patients and the health of older people.

The AWRC team utilises a specialist Canon Medical Systems ultrasound to focus on how muscles respond to exercise, with muscle, tendon and vascular reactions being monitored during different training exercises. The Canon Medical Systems ultrasound system delivers crystal-clear images, clinical precision and expert tools.

During this ongoing project, patients from the community — accessed through the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) — and elite athletes were monitored by a team from Sheffield Hallam and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

The Canon ultrasound is being used to explore the effectiveness of power assisted exercises for stroke rehabilitation patients. The exercise can improve muscle mass and strength in chronic stroke patients.

Significantly, the exercise can produce hypertrophy or increase the volume of the organ or tissue in both the affected and non-affected limbs of the upper and lower body. Research shows that positive changes in muscle mass including strength, rate of force development and hypertrophy can be made in young adults following explosive type fitness training.

A study in collaboration with the AWRC, University of Sheffield and University of Nottingham is finding out how this type of exercise affects the muscles of adults aged 65+. In addition a 12-week training study of pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women will have their muscle mass, muscle architecture and muscle-tendon stiffness examined — with changes following exercise identified.

The Canon ultrasound is also being used to identify elite football players who may be at risk of recurrent hamstring strain injuries. The AWRC has set up a partnership with medical staff at Sheffield United Football Club to work on identifying neuromuscular risk factors for hamstring injuries in their elite playing squad, U23s and U18s.

The team has recently published a paper identifying that muscle architecture of the Vastus Lateralis is a good predictor of peak power output in elite cyclists.

They are currently working on providing a more extensive assessment of the contribution of muscle architecture to power output alongside a short training period and using the Canon ultrasound to make assessments.

"These projects will help us understand a range of issues related to muscle strength - from strength training in older adults to help maintain their independence, to elite athletes and efficiency or injury prevention, the Canon ultrasound is providing us with technology to take huge strides in examining the relationship between muscles, exercise and recovery."

Dr Tom Maden-Wilkinson

Lecturer, Health and Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University


“At Canon Medical Systems we are inspired by the work being done at the AWRC, Sheffield Hallam University, using our advanced ultrasound imaging system. This is a key element of the broader picture for us as partners of top flight football clubs and other professional sports. Moreover, the translational element of this kind of research back into the wider community to improve rehabilitation, and even injury avoidance, is crucial for healthcare systems like the NHS as increased efficiency becomes ever more imperative.”

Mark Hitchman Managing Director, Canon Medical Systems Ltd

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