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Engineering Materials

Self-Healing Gel Could Replace Cartilage

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Rob Spiegel   10/4/2012 12:50:10 PM
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Ann, I'll ask a question that I've asked before, but in a slightly broader way. All of this surprising new technology -- are these developments accelerating, or does it just seem that way because you're shining a light in a lot of disparate corners? It sure seems there's a flood of shocking advancements in medical and robotics.

NadineJ
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
NadineJ   10/4/2012 1:11:27 PM
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We're several years aay from knee replacements.  I'm not sure if even Baby Boomers will benefit from this on a large scale.  I haven't read anything about computer trails or even animal testing yet.

The fact that two relatively weak hydrogels were combined to create something amazing and strong is another lesson for many.  Finding the right combination in the right scale is, very often, the key to innovation.

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.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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: 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.

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.

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