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Testing the breaking point

By   /   Monday, April 5th, 2010  /   Comments Off on Testing the breaking point

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A young company spun out of technology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, has developed a machine that could for the first time measure the strength of bones in living patients.

Founded in 2007, Active Life’s device creates a micro-crack about 100th of a millimeter wide in patients’ bones. Now in early trials in humans in Spain, the machine, called the BioDent, could change the way doctors diagnose and treat diseases such as osteoporosis because it measures what it takes to break a bone instead of bone density, the current standard but an imperfect proxy for bone strength.

The BioDent system grew out of research done by Paul Hansma, Active Life’s chief scientific officer and a UCSB physics professor.

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