Multivariate Techniques in Biomechanical Analysis
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This work outlines the theoretical advantages of multivariate methods in biomechanical data, validates the proposed methods and outlines new clinical findings relating to knee osteoarthritis that were made possible by this approach. New techniques were based on existing multivariate approaches, Partial Least Squares (PLS) and Non-negative Matrix Factorization (NMF) and validated using existing data sets. The new techniques developed, PCA-PLS-LDA (Principal Component Analysis – Partial Least Squares – Linear Discriminant Analysis), PCA-PLS-MLR (Principal Component Analysis – Partial Least Squares –Multiple Linear Regression) and Waveform Similarity (based on NMF) were developed to address the challenging characteristics of biomechanical data, variability and correlation. As a result, these new structure-seeking technique revealed new clinical findings. The first new clinical finding relates to the relationship between pain, radiographic severity and mechanics. Simultaneous analysis of pain and radiographic severity outcomes, a first in biomechanics, revealed that the knee adduction moment’s relationship to radiographic features is mediated by pain in subjects with moderate osteoarthritis. The second clinical finding was quantifying the importance of neuromuscular patterns in brace effectiveness for patients with knee osteoarthritis. I found that brace effectiveness was more related to the patient’s unbraced neuromuscular patterns than it was to mechanics, and that these neuromuscular patterns were more complicated than simply increased overall muscle activity, as previously thought.