Investing in spine research: Grammer European Spine Journal Award 2019

-Nine scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia recipients of the highest endowed award in the field of spine research
-Award presented for the twentieth time

Amberg, October 22, 2019 – The Grammer European Spine Journal Award has been presented for the twentieth time at the largest European spine congress, “EUROSPINE 2019”, held this year in Helsinki on October 16 - 18. With prize money of EUR 20,000, it is the world’s most generously endowed award for spine health research, recognizing outstanding achievements in basic and applied research. The coveted award is sponsored by Grammer AG and the European Spine Journal. A panel of experts consisting of editors and members of the scientific advisory board of the European Spine Journal select the best article published in this renowned journal in the previous year.

In patients suffering from back pain, it has been observed over many years that one of the muscles in the back, the multifidus, is replaced by fat, which becomes visible in spinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).This is probably responsible for their persistent pain, as the multifidus muscles help to control the back, and the accumulation of fat impairs this function. The cause of this fat accumulation of the muscle was previously not known.
The recipients of the Grammer European Spine Journal Award, a research group led by Prof. Paul W. Hodges from Brisbane, Australia, showed in an animal model that injury to an intervertebral disc can trigger the accumulation of fat in the muscle and determined the conditions prevailing in the tissue. Their study reports that the mechanism for fat alteration is local inflammation in the muscle in which the ratio of leukocytes becomes increasingly less favorable over time. Although inflammation usually occurs to induce healing after an injury, in this case the inflammatory response appears to be influenced via adjacent muscular tissue, leading to muscle degradation rather than triggering the healing process. The research group propose specific post-injury movement therapies that may have a favorable influence on the ratio of cell types in the tissue and thus prevent or reverse the adverse changes. In this case, targeted exercise is likely to provide a much more promising outcome for pain relief and healing than anti-inflammatory drugs.

These findings were published in the European Spine Journal in an article entitled “Macrophage polarization contributes to local inflammation and structural change in the multifidus muscle after intervertebral disc injury” (Eur Spine J (2018) 27:1744-1756).

Scientifically based product development
As one of the world’s leading seat manufacturers, Grammer considers ergonomic seating to be of crucial importance. The company has also been actively supporting spine research for 20 years with the annual European Spine Journal Award. Thanks to the close cooperation with specialists from science and research, Grammer has access to the latest findings in the field of spine research, which it directly incorporates in its product development activities. This ensures that Grammer seats are designed to meet maximum comfort and ergonomics requirements.

All information on the previous and current winners of the European Spine Journal Award and information on ergonomics can be found on the Grammer website under the following link:

Company profile
Located in Amberg, Germany, Grammer AG specializes in the development and production of components and systems for automotive interiors as well as suspended driver and passenger seats for onroad and offroad vehicles. In the Automotive Division, we supply headrests, armrests, center console systems, high-quality interior components, operating systems and innovative thermo-plastic solutions to premium automakers and automotive system suppliers. The Commercial Vehicles Division comprises seats for the truck and offroad seat segments (tractors, construction machinery, forklifts) as well as train and bus seats. With approximately 15,000 employees, Grammer operates in 20 countries around the world. Grammer shares are listed in the Prime Standard and traded on the Frankfurt and Munich stock exchanges via the electronic trading system Xetra.

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