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Healing old bones

Cartilage, even if it is old, promotes inosculation of broken old bones. Specialists of the Chelyabinsk State Institute of Laser Surgery (Russian Academy of Medical Sciences) and the St. Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology (North-West Branch, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences) have developed a treatment for fractures.

The aging organism’s metabolism differs from the one in young days. Young bones are constantly renewed: old cells die off and they are replaced by new ones. These processes are slower in old bone tissue, therefore, if the bone breaks it is difficult to repair – the restorative potential is not as good as it was before. And bone strength is different as there are less mineral salts in aging bones.

Russian researchers have investigated methods of healing bones without extensive operations, long-term bone fixation or expensive stimulating drugs, using tests on animal subjects.

The experiments involved eighteen rabbits aged five to six years, divided into two groups. Researchers took part of the cranium parietal bone and ablated it under anaesthetic, observing how the hole on the bone healed up. In one group, the cartilage was placed into the wound, with the other group had the wound covered by a skin flap.

Researchers found that separated cartilage fragments in the bone gradually join with trabeculas of bone and pull collagen fibers with young fibroblasts towards them. Three weeks after the operation, a callus was formed and new blood vessels actively grew, with the wound healed by the end of the fourth week, with young conjunctive tissue beginning to ossify. As for the reference group animals, their bones did not heal by this stage. Researchers concluded that osteoplasty using the patient’s own cartilage stimulates the healing process of old bone fibres knitting together.

Nadezda Markina | alfa
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