Currently, in some cases, the two ends of a broken bone must be held together in proper alignment using metal alloy plates that are screwed into the bone material. Because the metal is stiffer than the bone beneath it, however, those plates can subject the bone to stress when it's unable to flex. Their presence can also allow infection to set in, plus a second surgery is required in instances where plans call for the plates and screws to be removed after the bone has healed.
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This has led to its use in experimental brain implants, heart patches, and even bio-electronics. According to a new study conducted by scientists at Tufts University School of Engineering and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, it may now also find use in the production of better plates and screws used for securing broken bones.
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