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8 April 2009 Monitoring of variations in the speed of sound in contracting and relaxing muscle
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Beside of changes in the shape of contracting and relaxing muscle, which can be monitored with ultrasound, also changes in the velocity of ultrasound are expected. To observe such changes with high resolution for the gastrocnemius muscle of athletes a novel detection scheme has been developed. As already introduced for the detection of sideways expansion of the muscle, ultrasonic transducers are mounted sideways on opposing positions of the skin. To detect variations of the speed of sound, the expansion of the muscle is suppressed by mechanical clamping. Under this condition, any variation in the time-of-flight of ultrasonic signals can only be introduced by a variation of the speed of sound along the path of the ultrasound transit signal. The observed rather small variations of the speed of sound are compared to the signals obtained by ultrasound monitoring for the extension and contraction observed for free sideways motion (unclamped muscle). Opposite to the general behavior of a free muscle the clamped muscle shows a diminishing time-of-flight under contraction relating to an increase in the sound velocity. Since clamping also reduces effects of inertia, the influence of inertia on muscle dynamics can be illustrated by comparison of measurements on clamped and free muscle.
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M. Zakir Hossain, Horst Voigt, and Wolfgang Grill "Monitoring of variations in the speed of sound in contracting and relaxing muscle", Proc. SPIE 7295, Health Monitoring of Structural and Biological Systems 2009, 72951Q (8 April 2009);

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