Posted by: Rob Lester | July 26, 2010

Bones–crackling and spackling

Bone is amazingly strong.  It is made of collagen (which has a bit of “give” to it in response to stress) and also calcium-rich hydroxyapatite (which gives bone its rigidity).  Dr. Robert Ritchie of UC Berkeley said human bone is such a masterpiece of elasticity and strength that, “We only wish we could mimic it.”  Our skeleton allows us to have great mobility, but this comes at a risk of getting banged up.  Not to worry, because our bones have the ability to self-repair.  Actually, our bones are continually breaking on a small scale.  They “resist breaking apart in a major way by microcracking constantly…that’s how stresses are relieved.”  The repair unit consists of osteoclast cells which dig in and clean up around cracks and osteoblast cells which apply fresh spackling to repair and regrow bone.  It has been referred to as “our own private ambulatory surgical team” which works round the clock as we go about our business.  Bone is an amazing material in itself, but when coupled with the fact that it constantly repairs itself, it becomes miraculous.  That is exactly true because this material was formed by the miraculous creation of the Designer and Engineer of the universe, the God of the Bible.

Angier, Natalie “Bone, a Masterpiece of Elastic Strength” New York Times Science News 4/27/0909

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