Have a glass jaw?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

What do you get when you mix glass, math, and medicine? Bones! I know it sounds really strange, but engineers from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla have designed a glass-like implant that can grow into those sturdy skeletal sticks propping up our body. Last I checked though, glass is really easy to break! How can it be a good substitute for bones? Well, this new bioactive glass isn’t the brittle kind used for windows, which is usually made from sand. Instead, when its high concentration of bodily minerals, like calcium, comes into contact with our fluids, the glass transforms into living bone! “We have good material and engineering skills,” said lead researcher Len Rahaman, “and when you put those two together, it’s allowed us to use our skills to produce a bioactive glass that is strong enough to repair large structural bone defects.” This material will be extremely useful in repairing the bone damage of cancer patients, injured war veterans, and car accident victims.

Featured image courtesy of conorwithonen on Flickr.