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Engineering Materials

Self-Healing Gel Could Replace Cartilage

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Charles Murray
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Charles Murray   10/9/2012 7:33:15 PM
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Thanks, mydesign. Do you know if the magnetic technique works for someone who has almost no cartilage left?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: HYDROGEL
Ann R. Thryft   10/8/2012 6:22:41 PM
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bobj, glad you liked the article. I hope you were doing all that running on earth, not concrete. This technology is very much in its infancy, as are most of the discoveries I write on reported by universities, instead of commercial companies. That said, hydrogels as a class have a history as cartilage replacements already, so the timeline might be shorter than "normal," if there is such a thing. I guess growing up in Silicon Valley makes me appreciative of Heiseneberg. Anyway, I also have hip issues, although so far only in winter.

bobjengr
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HYDROGEL
bobjengr   10/8/2012 5:57:58 PM
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Years ago, 35 to be exact, my wife and I enjoyed running-10Ks mostly.  Well, father time has put an end to that activity but the "remains of the day" linger.  I have real problems with my right hip and right knee.  Hip replacement surgery has been recommended but I have put it off for several months due to schedule and the fact that I'm 168 pounds of rompin stompin coward.  I talked with my doctor about repairing the cartilage in the joint but he tells me the repair, if possible at all, would be considerably worse than the replacement.  With that being the case, Ann do you have a time-line for commercialization of the hydrogels or is this technology in its infancy--tried but unproven?   Great article also.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Knee Cartilage
Ann R. Thryft   10/8/2012 12:28:43 PM
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Mydesign, replacement knee surgery is not a sure thing re results, not at all guaranteed, can cause a lot of problems and is insanely expensive: at least half the cost of a low-end car. Otherwise I would have done it by now. Also, most replacement knee implants/structures are engineered for men, not women. But you probably know all that. Meanwhile, any claims of technologies that regrow cartilage are, AFAIK, untrue.

Mydesign
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Re: Knee Cartilage
Mydesign   10/8/2012 12:23:49 AM
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Ann, I had done a bit research for my mother having the same problem. She has some wear and tear in her knee cartilage and doctors advising us for a complete knee replacement. We are looking for some alternate therapy, which can regenerate the cartilages. Eventhough many are clamming that it can be regenerate, but so far nothing is medically proven.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Ann R. Thryft   10/5/2012 3:41:05 PM
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There may be a study out there somewhere that could answer your question, Rob, although it would depend on the specific topic. Most of what I've seen in robotics is defense-funded, for example.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Rob Spiegel   10/5/2012 2:14:40 PM
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From what you're saying, Ann, it sounds like more dollars are getting spent on research these days. Do you have any sense of whether that's the case? If so, is it coming from government? Business?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Wouldn't contracting be a great invention?
Ann R. Thryft   10/5/2012 11:53:15 AM
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78RPM, that sounds like a great idea. I'd be surprised if it's not being investigated somewhere.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Ann R. Thryft   10/5/2012 11:52:30 AM
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Rob, I think it's both: I do like finding obscure but weird and potentially earth-shaking developments in technology of several kinds. It's also true that we have more researchers now than ever before in many different disciplines, countries and cultures, working on many different solutions to many different problems. Humans have been ingenious creatures for hundreds of millenia: these advances aren't nearly as earth-shattering and shocking as the first sentences, or the first tools, or the first wheels.

78RPM
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Wouldn't contracting be a great invention?
78RPM   10/4/2012 6:24:15 PM
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I wonder if anyone is working on a substance that could contract to a fraction of its original length, simulating a muscular contraction. If such a substance could be interfaced with nerves it could replace lost muscles and limbs -- and think of the possibilities for robotics without motors.

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