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Cheetahs may provide insights into human muscle function

Cheetah2.jpg

The fastest animal on earth may one day influence the design of more effective artificial legs or aid in the development of treatments cerebral palsy.

A team of scientists the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London are studying how cheetahs rocket from 0 to 65 mph in a few strides in an effort to gain insight into the current limitations and future potential for human muscle functions.

Researcher Alan Wilson, PhD, tells National Geographic:

Prosthetic limbs, (there are) technologies coming into them in terms of making them work in a more efficient, or a more mechanically effective manner, and there you're trying to understand how legs are used in the real world and by looking at how animals like cheetahs use their limbs, which are very much simpler than our own mechanically.

Cerebral palsy relates to dysfunction in particular muscles and understanding how those muscles function, using computer models to simulate how those muscles work, and what will be the outcome of surgery on those muscles, we use the same sort of mechanical approaches here, as with that, you're looking at calculating the loads in a muscle and then coming up with a "what if situation" as to how strong does that muscle have to be to perform its function.

Photo by WWarby

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