Scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a new medical device that could facilitate the faster recovery of muscle in post-surgical patients, the elderly and professional athletes.
By harnessing the power of a specific magnetic field, the new device, known as MRegen, ‘tricks’ muscle cells into assuming that they are exercising, which then intensifies the biological effect to promote muscle regeneration at an accelerated speed.
Associate professor Alfredo Franco-Obregón, who led the research team, said: “The device provides a uniform electromagnetic field to a muscle area at a magnitude and pulse duration that reproduces the same regenerative, energetic and metabolic responses as physical activity.
“The duration of use for the device has been optimised for providing the largest therapeutic effect in terms of muscle equality, function and metabolic stability. The device is especially useful in reducing muscle degradation in periods when physical activity is not possible.”
During the first clinical trial, the researchers found that those who were given 10 minutes of magnetic stimulation by the MRegen device once per week for five consecutive weeks showed an average of 30% to 40% improvement in muscle strength, in both legs.
The scientists, during the second trial, found that patients with normal rehabilitation therapy recovered in 16 weeks whereas those treated with MRegen treatment recovered in 12 weeks.
Most notably, Magnetic Resonance Imaging measurements have shown improvement by up to 50% in the patients who had undergone MRegen’s magnetic field treatment.
Muscle metabolism is said to be one of the strongest indicators of muscle health and regeneration.
The researchers have filed a patent for the new technology and have since created a spinoff company, QuantumTX, to commercialise it.