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Concept: Fracture


To examine the evidence underpinning recommendations to increase calcium intake through dietary sources or calcium supplements to prevent fractures.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Bone fracture, Fracture, Calcium


During the lifetime of a flying insect, its wings are subjected to mechanical forces and deformations for millions of cycles. Defects in the micrometre thin membranes or veins may reduce the insect’s flight performance. How do insects prevent crack related material failure in their wings and what role does the characteristic vein pattern play? Fracture toughness is a parameter, which characterises a material’s resistance to crack propagation. Our results show that, compared to other body parts, the hind wing membrane of the migratory locust S. gregaria itself is not exceptionally tough (1.04±0.25 MPa√m). However, the cross veins increase the wing’s toughness by 50% by acting as barriers to crack propagation. Using fracture mechanics, we show that the morphological spacing of most wing veins matches the critical crack length of the material (1132 µm). This finding directly demonstrates how the biomechanical properties and the morphology of locust wings are functionally correlated in locusts, providing a mechanically ‘optimal’ solution with high toughness and low weight. The vein pattern found in insect wings thus might inspire the design of more durable and lightweight artificial ‘venous’ wings for micro-air-vehicles. Using the vein spacing as indicator, our approach might also provide a basis to estimate the wing properties of endangered or extinct insect species.

Concepts: Blood, Fracture, Insect, Fracture mechanics, Locust, Insect wing, Fracture toughness, Orthoptera


Plastin 3 (PLS3), a protein involved in the formation of filamentous actin (F-actin) bundles, appears to be important in human bone health, on the basis of pathogenic variants in PLS3 in five families with X-linked osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures that we report here. The bone-regulatory properties of PLS3 were supported by in vivo analyses in zebrafish. Furthermore, in an additional five families (described in less detail) referred for diagnosis or ruling out of osteogenesis imperfecta type I, a rare variant (rs140121121) in PLS3 was found. This variant was also associated with a risk of fracture among elderly heterozygous women that was two times as high as that among noncarriers, which indicates that genetic variation in PLS3 is a novel etiologic factor involved in common, multifactorial osteoporosis.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Genetics, Natural selection, Bone fracture, Fracture, Actin, Osteogenesis imperfecta


Background: The purpose of this study was to compare the biomechanical properties of locked versus nonlocked lateral fibular bridge plating of comminuted, unstable ankle fractures in a mode of catastrophic failure. Methods: We created comminuted Weber C fractures in 8 paired limbs from fresh cadavers. Fractures were plated with either standard or locked one-third tubular bridge plating techniques. Specimens were biomechanically evaluated by external rotation to failure while subjected to a compressive load approximating body weight. We measured the angle to failure, torque to failure, energy to failure and construct stiffness. Results: There was no significant difference in construct stiffness or other biomechanical properties between locked and standard one-third tubular plating techniques. Conclusion: We found no difference in biomechanical properties between locked and standard bridge plating of a comminuted Weber C fibular fracture in a model of catastrophic failure. It is likely that augmentation of fixation with K-wires or transtibial screws provides a construct superior to locked bridge plating alone. Further biomechanical and clinical analysis is required to improve understanding of the role of locked plating in ankle fractures and in osteoporotic bone.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Bone fracture, Fracture, Elasticity, Forensic engineering, Plating, Fibula


Vertebral fractures and trabecular bone loss have dominated thinking and research into the pathogenesis and the structural basis of bone fragility during the last 70 years. However, 80% of all fractures are non-vertebral and occur at regions assembled using large amounts of cortical bone; only 20% of fractures are vertebral. Moreover, ~80% of the skeleton is cortical and ~70% of all bone loss is cortical even though trabecular bone is lost more rapidly than cortical bone. Bone is lost because remodelling becomes unbalanced after midlife. Most cortical bone loss occurs by intracortical, not endocortical remodelling. Each remodelling event removes more bone than deposited enlarging existing canals which eventually coalesce eroding and thinning the cortex from ‘within.’ Thus, there is a need to study the decay of cortical as well as trabecular bone, and to develop drugs that restore the strength of both types of bone. It is now possible to accurately quantify cortical porosity and trabecular decay in vivo. The challenges still to be met are to determine whether measurement of porosity identifies persons at risk for fracture, whether this approach is compliments information obtained using bone densitometry, and whether changes in cortical porosity and other microstructural traits have the sensitivity to serve as surrogates of treatment success or failure.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Bone fracture, Fracture, Skeletal system, Osseous tissue, Cortical bone, Cancellous bone


Background Romosozumab is a monoclonal antibody that binds to and inhibits sclerostin, increases bone formation, and decreases bone resorption. Methods We enrolled 4093 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and a fragility fracture and randomly assigned them in a 1:1 ratio to receive monthly subcutaneous romosozumab (210 mg) or weekly oral alendronate (70 mg) in a blinded fashion for 12 months, followed by open-label alendronate in both groups. The primary end points were the cumulative incidence of new vertebral fracture at 24 months and the cumulative incidence of clinical fracture (nonvertebral and symptomatic vertebral fracture) at the time of the primary analysis (after clinical fractures had been confirmed in ≥330 patients). Secondary end points included the incidences of nonvertebral and hip fracture at the time of the primary analysis. Serious cardiovascular adverse events, osteonecrosis of the jaw, and atypical femoral fractures were adjudicated. Results Over a period of 24 months, a 48% lower risk of new vertebral fractures was observed in the romosozumab-to-alendronate group (6.2% [127 of 2046 patients]) than in the alendronate-to-alendronate group (11.9% [243 of 2047 patients]) (P<0.001). Clinical fractures occurred in 198 of 2046 patients (9.7%) in the romosozumab-to-alendronate group versus 266 of 2047 patients (13.0%) in the alendronate-to-alendronate group, representing a 27% lower risk with romosozumab (P<0.001). The risk of nonvertebral fractures was lower by 19% in the romosozumab-to-alendronate group than in the alendronate-to-alendronate group (178 of 2046 patients [8.7%] vs. 217 of 2047 patients [10.6%]; P=0.04), and the risk of hip fracture was lower by 38% (41 of 2046 patients [2.0%] vs. 66 of 2047 patients [3.2%]; P=0.02). Overall adverse events and serious adverse events were balanced between the two groups. During year 1, positively adjudicated serious cardiovascular adverse events were observed more often with romosozumab than with alendronate (50 of 2040 patients [2.5%] vs. 38 of 2014 patients [1.9%]). During the open-label alendronate period, adjudicated events of osteonecrosis of the jaw (1 event each in the romosozumab-to-alendronate and alendronate-to-alendronate groups) and atypical femoral fracture (2 events and 4 events, respectively) were observed. Conclusions In postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who were at high risk for fracture, romosozumab treatment for 12 months followed by alendronate resulted in a significantly lower risk of fracture than alendronate alone. (Funded by Amgen and others; ARCH number, NCT01631214 .).

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Clinical trial, Bone fracture, Hip fracture, Fracture, Menopause, Hip


Background Romosozumab, a monoclonal antibody that binds sclerostin, increases bone formation and decreases bone resorption. Methods We enrolled 7180 postmenopausal women who had a T score of -2.5 to -3.5 at the total hip or femoral neck. Patients were randomly assigned to receive subcutaneous injections of romosozumab (at a dose of 210 mg) or placebo monthly for 12 months; thereafter, patients in each group received denosumab for 12 months, at a dose of 60 mg, administered subcutaneously every 6 months. The coprimary end points were the cumulative incidences of new vertebral fractures at 12 months and 24 months. Secondary end points included clinical (a composite of nonvertebral and symptomatic vertebral) and nonvertebral fractures. Results At 12 months, new vertebral fractures had occurred in 16 of 3321 patients (0.5%) in the romosozumab group, as compared with 59 of 3322 (1.8%) in the placebo group (representing a 73% lower risk with romosozumab; P<0.001). Clinical fractures had occurred in 58 of 3589 patients (1.6%) in the romosozumab group, as compared with 90 of 3591 (2.5%) in the placebo group (a 36% lower risk with romosozumab; P=0.008). Nonvertebral fractures had occurred in 56 of 3589 patients (1.6%) in the romosozumab group and in 75 of 3591 (2.1%) in the placebo group (P=0.10). At 24 months, the rates of vertebral fractures were significantly lower in the romosozumab group than in the placebo group after each group made the transition to denosumab (0.6% [21 of 3325 patients] in the romosozumab group vs. 2.5% [84 of 3327] in the placebo group, a 75% lower risk with romosozumab; P<0.001). Adverse events, including instances of hyperostosis, cardiovascular events, osteoarthritis, and cancer, appeared to be balanced between the groups. One atypical femoral fracture and two cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw were observed in the romosozumab group. Conclusions In postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, romosozumab was associated with a lower risk of vertebral fracture than placebo at 12 months and, after the transition to denosumab, at 24 months. The lower risk of clinical fracture that was seen with romosozumab was evident at 1 year. (Funded by Amgen and UCB Pharma; FRAME number, NCT01575834 .).

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Pharmacology, Bone, Clinical trial, Bone fracture, Hip fracture, Fracture, Placebo


For adhering to three-dimensional (3D) surfaces or objects, current adhesion systems are limited by a fundamental trade-off between 3D surface conformability and high adhesion strength. This limitation arises from the need for a soft, mechanically compliant interface, which enables conformability to nonflat and irregularly shaped surfaces but significantly reduces the interfacial fracture strength. In this work, we overcome this trade-off with an adhesion-based soft-gripping system that exhibits enhanced fracture strength without sacrificing conformability to nonplanar 3D surfaces. Composed of a gecko-inspired elastomeric microfibrillar adhesive membrane supported by a pressure-controlled deformable gripper body, the proposed soft-gripping system controls the bonding strength by changing its internal pressure and exploiting the mechanics of interfacial equal load sharing. The soft adhesion system can use up to ∼26% of the maximum adhesion of the fibrillar membrane, which is 14× higher than the adhering membrane without load sharing. Our proposed load-sharing method suggests a paradigm for soft adhesion-based gripping and transfer-printing systems that achieves area scaling similar to that of a natural gecko footpad.

Concepts: Fracture, Materials science, Pressure, Surface, Object-oriented programming, Analytic geometry, Adhesion, Adhesive


Bisphosphonates are the most widely prescribed pharmacologic treatment for osteoporosis and reduce fracture risk in postmenopausal women by up to 50%. However, in the past decade these drugs have been associated with atypical femoral fractures (AFFs), rare fractures with a transverse, brittle morphology. The unusual fracture morphology suggests that bisphosphonate treatment may impair toughening mechanisms in cortical bone. The objective of this study was to compare the compositional and mechanical properties of bone biopsies from bisphosphonate-treated patients with AFFs to those from patients with typical osteoporotic fractures with and without bisphosphonate treatment. Biopsies of proximal femoral cortical bone adjacent to the fracture site were obtained from postmenopausal women during fracture repair surgery (fracture groups, n = 33) or total hip arthroplasty (nonfracture groups, n = 17). Patients were allocated to five groups based on fracture morphology and history of bisphosphonate treatment [+BIS Atypical: n = 12, BIS duration: 8.2 (3.0) y; +BIS Typical: n = 10, 7.7 (5.0) y; +BIS Nonfx: n = 5, 6.4 (3.5) y; -BIS Typical: n = 11; -BIS Nonfx: n = 12]. Vibrational spectroscopy and nanoindentation showed that tissue from bisphosphonate-treated women with atypical fractures was harder and more mineralized than that from bisphosphonate-treated women with typical osteoporotic fractures. In addition, fracture mechanics measurements showed that tissue from patients treated with bisphosphonates had deficits in fracture toughness, with lower crack-initiation toughness and less crack deflection at osteonal boundaries than that of bisphosphonate-naïve patients. Together, these results suggest a deficit in intrinsic and extrinsic toughening mechanisms, which contribute to AFFs in patients treated with long-term bisphosphonates.

Concepts: Bisphosphonate, Osteoporosis, Bone, Fracture, Fracture mechanics, Hip replacement, Orthopedic surgery, Fracture toughness


The environmental impact of shale oil and gas production by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is of increasing concern. The biggest potential source of environmental contamination is flowback and produced water, which is highly contaminated with hydrocarbons, bacteria and particulates, meaning that traditional membranes are readily fouled. We show the chemical functionalisation of alumina ceramic microfiltration membranes (0.22 μm pore size) with cysteic acid creates a superhydrophilic surface, allowing for separation of hydrocarbons from frac and produced waters without fouling. The single pass rejection coefficients was >90% for all samples. The separation of hydrocarbons from water when the former have hydrodynamic diameters smaller than the pore size of the membrane is due to the zwitter ionically charged superhydrophilic pore surface. Membrane fouling is essentially eliminated, while a specific flux is obtained at a lower pressure (<2 bar) than that required achieving the same flux for the untreated membrane (4-8 bar).

Concepts: Oxygen, Fracture, Water, Hydrogen, Solid, Pressure, Oil shale, Hydraulic fracturing