Skip navigation
  E. A Fundamental Discovery Made About Human Bone

Narrator: This is Science Today. A fundamental discovery about the properties of human bone has been made by researchers at the University of California , Santa Barbara . Engineer Georg Fantner, who led the study, describes their surprise in finding a sort of ‘glue' at a molecular level in human bone.

Fantner: One would think it's a very well-studied material and then you're looking at something and you find something that people have never seen before. You first start to wonder: did I see something wrong or did I do the sample preparation wrong or could this really be what we think it is?

Narrator: The researchers used an Atomic Force Microscope to get a nanoscale level look at this “glue” in human bone.

Fantner: We think that the presence of the glue is very important for the strength and therefore obviously, if it degrades by age, if you don't have it anymore, that is one of the reasons why your bones get brittle.

Narrator: Fantner says the next step is to find out what the glue actually consists of. The discovery may lead to therapy for bone fracture, or even to prevention. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.