HELENE M. LANGEVIN
Research Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
M.D., McGill University, 1978
Residency: Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1985; Certified: American Board of Internal Medicine, 1986
Fellowship: Johns Hopkins Hospital (Endocrinology & Metabolism), 1986; Certified: Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1987
The research interests of my laboratory are the mechanism of action of acupuncture, and the interaction between connective tissue and sensory nervous system. Acupuncture has been practiced for over 2000 years, but its mechanism of action remains unknown. An important aspect of acupuncture treatments is that needles are manipulated after being inserted into the tissue. Manipulation typically consists of rapid rotation and/or pistoning of the needle. In humans, we have found that acupuncture needle rotation causes a marked increase in the force necessary to pull the needle out of the skin (pullout force). In animals, (both in vivo and tissue explants), we have shown that this increase in pullout force is due to subcutaneous tissue winding around the needle, creating a tight mechanical coupling between needle and tissue. The importance of this phenomenon is that, once this needle/tissue coupling has been established, further movements of the needle can transmit a mechanical signal into the tissue. We are currently investigating the hypothesis that transduction of this mechanical signal to a cellular response underlies some of the therapeutic effects of acupuncture.
Our long-term goal is to understand how the effect of mechanical forces on connective tissue matrix composition may influence sensory afferent input originating from that connective tissue. Understanding these interactions may give important insights into the pathogenesis of musculoskeletal pain.
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