Magnetic Resonance and Ultrasound Imaging for Neuromuscular and Musculoskeletal Health Monitoring

One of the largest current societal challenges is to increase the number of years a person spends in good health, so they can live independently and enjoy a good quality of life. Skeletal muscle health is fundamental to supporting independent living and hence good quality of life. Therefore, tools that can improve diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of conditions that affect skeletal muscle health are required.

Both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound imaging are well established tools for the assessment of muscle health in clinical practice. There have also been several large-scale research studies, recruiting patients and healthy participants, meaning that some large data sets, ripe for deep-learning applications are available.

These information rich data sources therefore offer significant opportunity to advance biological understanding of health and develop tools to improve diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease, injury and changes associated with ageing.

Excitingly images provide means to study skeletal muscle structural properties across scales, from individual contractile cells to whole muscle and muscle groups. This includes occurrence of fibrosis and fatty replacement of muscle tissue both of which are important features of disease and age-related decline in function. Additionally, MR-based spectroscopy can provide further insight into inflammation, cell physiological characteristics, and metabolic profiles.

The session will therefore bring together perspectives on approaches to:

  • Monitor disease progression, injury repair, and/or age-related frailty by quantifying structural and functional changes in skeletal muscle over time; fuse image data with other biological and/or clinical markers of health or disease stage to improve diagnosis, patient stratification and evaluation of new therapeutic
  • Interventions
  • Automating disease diagnosis or frailty risk
  • Predict treatment outcomes


  • Prof. Emma Hodson-Tole, Department of Life Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
  • Dr. Fiona E. Smith, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
  • Dr. Zhenkai Zhou, Department of Life Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.


Skeletal muscle, motor unit, sarcopenia, obesity, muscular dystrophy, motor neurone disease, neurodegeneration, rare diseases, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound imaging, machine learning, segmentation, fat replacement, tractography, spectroscopy, microscopy.

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