Niamh’s paper on a new type of fetal movement monitor has been published in PLoS One. You can read the paper here. The work was a collaboration with Dr Ravi Vaidyanathan from Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, and Mr Christoph Lees (Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College London), together with other engineering and clinical colleagues.
Fetal movements are an important sign of the health of the baby, but there is currently no objective way to measure the frequency or type of movements outside of a hospital. A wearable and non-transmitting system capable of sensing fetal movements over extended periods of time would be extremely valuable, not only for monitoring individual fetal health, but also for establishing normal levels of movement in the population at large. In this paper, we introduce a new wearable system based on a novel combination of accelerometers and bespoke acoustic sensors as well as an advanced signal processing architecture to identify and discriminate between types of fetal movements. We validate the system with concurrent ultrasound tests and demonstrate that the garment is capable of both detecting and discriminating the vigorous, whole-body ‘startle’ movements of a fetus. Ongoing work aims to increase the accuracy and specificity of the sensor, bringing us closer to future clinical trials of the device.
The work was featured on the Imperial College website.
Stefaan’s final and Perren Award winning paper from his postdoc in the Developmental Biomechanics has been published online in the Journal of Biomechanics. In the paper, the effects of different risk factors for hip dysplasia (such as fetal breech position, first born babies and oligohydramnios (reduced amniotic fluid)) on fetal kicks and the stresses and strains in their hip joints are quantified. Kick force, stress and strain were found to be significantly lower in cases of breech position and oligohydramnios. Similarly, firstborn fetuses were found to generate significantly lower kick forces than non-firstborns.
Congratulations to Stefaan and co-authors whose paper entitled “Altered Biomechanical Stimulation of the Developing Hip Joint in Presence of Hip Dysplasia Risk Factors” (soon to be published in the Journal of Biomechanics) has been awarded the 2018 S.M. Perren Award by the European Society of Biomechanics! Stefaan will present a plenary lecture of the World Congress of Biomechanics in Dublin, Ireland in July.
Our paper on developing a new type of sensor for fetal movements has been published in PLoS One! The paper describes how acoustic sensors are combined with accelerometers for the first time. The sensor was able to detect and identify the short, rigorous ‘startle’ movements of the fetus. Further development is ongoing, but this is an important first step! The work builds on a patent held by the several of the authors, including Niamh.
Citation: Lai J, Woodward R, Alexandrov Y, ain Munnee Q, Lees CC, Vaidyanathan R, Nowlan NC. Performance of a wearable acoustic system for fetal movement discrimination. PloS one. 2018 May 7;13(5):e0195728.
Stefaan‘s work on quantifying the stresses and strains induced by fetal kicks over gestation has been published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The work attracted a lot of publicity, being featured by Nature, Science and Newsweek and on the Imperial College website. Congratulations Stefaan! See here for the online version of the paper, and access the pdf here.
Stefaan and Niamh have published a new review paper entitled “Ontogeny of the human pelvis“, in a special issue of the Anatomical Record dedicated to the anatomy, development and function of the human pelvis
Rebecca’s paper entitled “Abnormal fetal muscle forces result in defects in spinal curvature and alterations in vertebral segmentation and shape” has been accepted by the Journal of Orthopaedic Research! Former UROP and MRes students (James, Tyler and Zuheir) are also co-authors, as are Nowlan group collaborators Michelle Oyen (University of Cambridge, UK) and James Iatridis (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY, USA).