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Distinguished Scholar Marras Addresses Congress

Story by Nancy Richison

Executive Director of the Ohio State Spine Research Institute Bill Marras testified before Congress on the innovative ways the Institute is leverage the Internet of Things (IoT).

“Spine disorders, worldwide, are the most disabling condition known to humankind, and are responsible for over 100 million lost work days per year in the United States alone,” Marras told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection. “The condition will affect 80% of the population at some point in their lives, and is the second leading cause for physician visits. We spend over $100 billion a year on low back injuries alone in the U.S. Despite increasing treatment costs, the source of the disorder is often difficult to pinpoint resulting in spine surgeries, which are frequently unsuccessful.”

Marras explained the collaboration between engineering and medicine and discussed three breakthroughs utilizing the IoT that the Spine Research Institute is pursuing:

Clinical Lumbar Motion Monitoring – this sensor tracks spine patterns to determine function and degree of impairment to determine the best course of treatment.

Biodynamic Workplace Spine Model – these sensors are used to evaluate occupational risk in order to prevent spine injuries in the workplace.

Personalized Biodynamic Model – by combining IoT data from sensors with a patient’s biomedical data, the Institute can predict the outcome of spine surgeries before they take place.

Marras, who holds the Honda Chair in the ISE Department, asked for Congress’ help in cutting through bureaucratic red tape and increasing federal funding to support research.

Marras also was in the news earlier this year when he was honored as an Ohio State Distinguished Scholar. Ohio State Vice President for Research Caroline Whitacre cited his many accomplishments, including the $31 million his research has generated in grants and contracts to further the study and improve the well-being of people with back pain.

Tags: Faculty