Physical scientists work with clinicians on biomechanical problems, yet the predictive capabilities of mathematical models often remain elusive to clinical collaborators. This is due to both conceptual differences in the research methodologies of each discipline, and the perceived complexity of even simple models. This limits expert medical input, affecting the applicability of the results. Moreover, a lack of understanding undermines the medical practitioner’s confidence in modeling predictions, hampering its clinical application. In this paper we consider the disease syringomyelia, which involves the fluid-structure interaction of pressure vessels and pipes, as a paradigm of the nexus between the modeling approaches of physical scientists and clinicians. The observations made are broadly applicable to cross-disciplinary research between engineers and non-technical specialists, such as may occur in academic-industrial collaborations.

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