Bones could make from bits of old wood!

Million of people around the world every year need hospital treatment for broken bones. The first step in treatment is to reduce the fracture by aligning the ends of the bone which are broken, so that the natural healing process can begin. But in severe cases more drastic measures like steel plates to fix the broken bones in position or the grafting of bone to fill the gap between the shattered ends are done.

[Photo Credit]

Scientists have developed artificial bones that are made from bits of old wood which can be used as grafts in patients who need replacement of part of their own skeleton which are damaged by the injury. Research by Italian scientist showed that the cellular make-up of certain types of wood like red oak provides perfect scaffolding for cells & blood vessels to latch onto as they grow.

Surgeons often harvest grafts from patients own skeleton, they remove bit of bone from pelvis region that is used elsewhere in the body. They remove a small amount of pelvis bone without having a lasting effect on the life of the patients. But in this procedure, involves surgery which can leave the patient in considerable amount of pain afterwards.

Man made bones which are made from metal or ceramic are also used. Theses types of bone are lack of spongy texture of natural bone. But wood that is slightly more porous can be good substitute. Scientists take a block of wood & heat it thoroughly to remove all living material & moisture, all that's left is charcoal.

They then spray the wood with a calcium-based solution, expose it to high levels of oxygen & carbon dioxide. Finally, dip it in boiling water containing phosphate, a type of salt found in bone. The end result is that the wood is coated in a smooth layer of something called hydroxyapatite , a substance that makes up around 90% of human bone.

Inside the body, the man-made coating interacts with the real bone & starts to form a bond. Eventually, after a few years, the wood breaks down and leaves the healthy new bone in place. Anna Tampieri, the scientist said, “Our purpose is to convert wood into bioactive, inorganic compounds destined to substitute portions of bone.”


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