Turkey tendons could hold key to treating failing human bones
Tortured turkey tendons could help scientists develop new treatments for failing bones.
In a series of experiments, researchers squeezed the mineralised tissue to breaking point and bombarded it with X-rays.
The results allowed them to see for the first time how bones react to compression at the molecular level.
Dr Uwe Wolfram, leader of the team from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, said: "Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis affect millions of people around the world. As life expectancy continues to rise, it is critical that we have better solutions to manage patients' conditions and minimise the loss of quality of life.
"We use mineralised turkey tendons because they show similar composition to human bone with respect to the mineralised collagen fibril (small fibre), but feature a much simpler arrangement of these fibrils.
"Before this experiment, we understood how bone behaved at the organ level, but the mechanical properties of bones' fundamental building blocks, the mineralised collagen fibres, were something of a mystery. We have now captured exactly how these fibres respond to stress. This could lead to far more effective prediction of bone fracture risk and even the development of patient-specific implants to mitigate that risk."