Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-2011

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Richard A. Foulds

Second Advisor

Bruno A. Mantilla

Third Advisor

Bryan J. Pfister

Fourth Advisor

Sheila Blochlinger


In recent decades, research in osteoporosis has expanded to include the effects of prolonged immobilization on the load-bearing bones of non-ambulatory children. One current therapeutic intervention for this population is a passive standing program, in which the body is fully supported and continuous, stationary loading is applied to the bones, leading to the legs being primarily inactive. This research focused upon the effect of passive standing and a new therapeutic intervention of dynamic standing, a standing therapy in which the body is supported but vertical, reciprocal displacements which mimic the walking gait are applied to the feet, causing the muscles to activate. An initial pilot study has been conducted to test the feasibility and usability of the dynamic stander in the clinical and educational settings, as well as to allow refinement of the study protocol for a 12-month study with additional subjects. Two subjects were stood, one in a passive stander and one in a dynamic stander, for 13 weeks. Pre- and post-dual energy x- ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans were completed to investigate the impact of the standing interventions on bone mineral density (BMD). The use of the dynamic stander was determined to be feasible in the clinical and educational settings with minimal modifications. The use of the supine position to obtain DXA scans was determined to be inappropriate for the population of interest and therefore the lateral, distal femoral DXA procedure must be adapted for subsequent studies as it is the current 'gold standard' for positioning non-ambulatory children.