A startling discovery about the properties of human bone has been made by scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The scientists describe their results –– finding a sort of "glue" in human bone –– in the cover story of the August issue of the international scientific journal, Nature Materials. The article was published on-line on July 17. It describes how healthy bone resists fracture and how unhealthy bone fractures at the molecular level. Included with the article are the highest resolution images of bone ever published, which reveal the location of the adhesive or "glue" that holds together mineralized collagen fibrils (protein fibers) of bone.
The glue appears to contain "springs" that uncoil when the bone is stressed, helping the bone to absorb shock. When the stress is relaxed, they coil back to their original structure.
Gail Gallessich | EurekAlert!
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