New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill indicates that treatment with anabolic steroids may improve surgical repair of massive or recurrent tears of the shoulder’s rotator cuff tendons. Such injuries extend well beyond the world of high-performance athletes, professional and collegiate – often occurring among older weekend athletes, including tennis and golf players. The study, which appears in the June issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine, was led by Dr. Spero Karas, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery in UNC’s School of Medicine.
Dr. Albert J. Banes, professor of orthopedics and biomedical engineering at UNC, developed a bioengineered tendon that figured prominently in the study’s experiments. Through a company he founded 18 years ago, Banes developed a special tissue plate in which cells in a liquid collagen gel could remodel on their own to form a tissue-like matrix or structure. The structure then could be placed under mechanical load by a computer-driven pressure-controlled system.
In 2002, his laboratory announced it had successfully bioengineered a rhythmically beating experimental model of heart muscle. Anabolic steroids benefit millions of people a year, said Karas, including those with deficiencies in sex hormones and burn victims who need to build up their metabolism to repair musculoskeletal tissue. They also are FDA-approved for treating anemia for their ability to help the body rebuild blood.
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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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