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  E. Looking at Human Bone at a Nanoscale Level

Narrator: This is Science Today. By looking at the properties of human bone at a nanoscale level, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have discovered a sort of ‘glue' that holds together protein fibers of bone. Engineer Georg Fantner says the next step is to find out what molecules this glue actually consists of and to understand if there are differences between the amount and quality of these molecules in younger and older patients.

Fantner: That is very important because once we know that, people can start to think about targeting these molecules in this glue with either therapy or nutrition.

Narrator: Fantner says this is particularly important because bone fracture is an enormous health problem.

Fantner: It gets more important every year with the aging population and there are some astonishing facts out there – for instance, it seems that people have a higher chance of dying one year after a hip fracture than one year after a heart attack. It's really a serious thing. We're really hoping that we'll be able to excite other researchers to start to focus and help us to really understand what's going on and try to apply it to therapy.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.