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New Material Might Protect Bones From Breaking



From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

British scientists say they have developed a material that could help protect older adults from breaking bones when they fall. The new substance is called Armourgel. Scientists say it is soft enough to be put in everyday clothing. As people get older, many develop the disease osteoporosis. This condition makes bones so weak that even a minor fall can cause a bone to break. In some cases, older adults can die from broken bones or from problems resulting from them.

The Reuters news service reports that Britain's National Osteoporosis Society says more than 1,000 people die every month in Britain from hip fractures. Armourgel is a combination of two new materials. These substances quickly take in, or absorb, energy when they hit something. This protects whatever is behind the material. Researcher Daniel Plant works at Imperial College in London. He launched a company called Armourgel Limited. He says one of the materials in Armourgel moves with clothing, but becomes hard when something strikes it. Soon after the material hardens, it becomes soft again.

Steven Gambert works at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He helps older men and women who have suffered injuries. He told VOA that having the ability to turn soft quickly means Armourgel can be put into clothing. But Dr. Gambert notes that bone protectors, no matter how good, are not the best answer. He says the most important things are to stay healthy and keep bones from losing their mineral content. Daniel Plant thinks stores could begin selling clothing with Armourgel by 2016.