Researchers Receive Janda Prize

The accolade is given out every two years by the German Society for Manual Medicine (Deutschen Gesellschaft für Manuelle Medizin), the Society of Manual Medicine Physicians (Ärztegesellschaft für Manuelle Medizin) as well as the Physiobörse (Wittlich), and is accompanied by a 5000 Euro grant. The award is in memoriam Professor Vladimir Janda of the Charles University in Prague, whose life's work was devoted to musculoskeletal medicine.

In the last year, the two Ulm University researchers have proven that human fascia is regularly populated with myofibroblasts. The current doctrine assigns fascia, the dense white-coloured connective tissue which surrounds muscles and many other structures in the human body, a purely passive role in the transmission of force.

The myofibroblasts are connective tissue cells similar to those found in smooth muscle, and are already well known for their role in wound healing as well as in various pathologies involving chronic tissue contractures. Working in cooperation, the two scientists have additionally shown that the fascia of the lower back possesses a particularly high concentration of such contractile cells.

"Using specialised force measurements, we could demonstrate an active contraction in these sheets of connective tissue. Conservative extrapolations revealed that this force has a significant effect on musculoskeletal mechanics," reported Dr. Schleip and Dr. Klingler.

Therapists often perceive a change in the level of tone of fascia and regard this to be an important indicator of the effectiveness of treatment. Likewise, the fascial component is of increasing interest in the field of acupuncture and is the subject of ongoing research. Future fascial research will likely make clear the connection between back pain and the concentration of myofibroblasts in the tissue.

MEDICA.de; Source: Ulm University