ARRA Helps NIAMS Grantee Evaluate Remedy for Knee Pain 

A common surgical procedure for relieving pain in the patellofemoral joint (behind the kneecap) is being evaluated for effectiveness, courtesy of funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The pain is commonly attributed to overloading the joint's cartilage, the tough, elastic material that helps absorb shock and allows the joint to move smoothly. One solution has been to surgically realign the attachment of the kneecap's tendon on the tibia, or shin bone, in an effort to unload areas of damaged cartilage.

John Elias, Ph.D.

John Elias, Ph.D., a grantee of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) at the Akron (Ohio) General Medical Center, is using cadaver specimens linked to pressure and motion sensors, along with computational modeling, to determine the effectiveness of the realignment procedure. ARRA support for continuing this work, Dr. Elias says, has been a critical factor during a time when local organizational funding has been limited in Akron. Dr. Elias has been able to purchase necessary supplies and software licenses with ARRA money, and also has been able to employ biomedical engineering students from the University of Akron.

According to Dr. Elias, his ARRA-enabled investment in the university students has yielded several side benefits. For one, it has increased the exposure of his work within the University of Akron, and several other students have shown interest in taking part in the research. In addition, this opportunity has helped him establish collaborative relationships with colleagues at the university.

Finally, he notes that although his ARRA grant is small, it is the first National Institutes of Health research grant awarded to the Akron General Medical Center, and will help to establish the research credentials of the institution as an academic medical center and a founding member of Akron's new Austen BioInnovation Institute.

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The activity above is being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). More information about the National Institutes of Health's ARRA grant funding opportunities can be found at To track the progress of HHS activities funded through the ARRA, visit To track all federal funds provided through the ARRA, visit

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