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More accurate technique for understanding joint behaviour
"I hope our method will contribute to uncovering the secrets of osteoarthritis in the future" - Dr Kamel Madi.
Technique measures joint strain under conditions mimicking normal use

Scientists have discovered a new technique for understanding joint behaviour in conditions like osteoarthritis with more accuracy than ever before.

The groundbreaking technique, published in Nature Research, employs high-resolution imaging and specially-designed software code to gain a deeper understanding of how joints react as osteoarthritis progresses.

Joint strain is traditionally measured on the nanometer scale on tissue structures such as collagen fibres, chondrocyte cells and bones.

Until now, such strains have only been measured at the sub-millimetre scale in whole joints during loading. In this study, scientists measured these strains in mouse knee joints with an accuracy greater than 100 nanometers - 1,000 times more precise than before.

The study involved male ‘STR/Ort’ mice, which develop a natural form of osteoarthritis with age, similar to the human disease. The researchers then compared these mice with male age-matched control mice that did not display any signs of age-related osteoarthritis.  

It used combination of x-ray tomography, a nano-precision loading frame and a software code designed to measure motion between subsequent 3D images with a resolution of 1/20th of a voxel (3D pixel).

Researchers found that in young, older and arthritic mice, changes in tissue structure and mechanical behaviour can be simultaneously visualised, and that tissue structure at the cellular level is comparative with the mechanical performance of the joint as a whole.

The collaborative study was conducted by researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), Edinburgh Napier University, University College London, Oregon State University (US), 3Dmagination and the Diamond Light Source.

RVC skeletal dynamics professor Andrew A Pitsillides, explained: “Our technique for nanometre scale measurement of real deformation in whole joints under conditions closely mimicking their normal use will, I hope, bring new understanding of joint behaviour in health and in osteoarthritis that devastates the lives of so many.”

3Dmagination Ltd director Dr Kamel Madi, added: “Measuring precise and reliable nanoscale strains in this complex biomedical system requires a perfect blend of skills, from in situ imaging to reconstruction and quantification of several terabytes of dataset, which is the team’s expertise at 3Dmagination Ltd.

“I am also passionate about bringing the images to life and I hope our method will contribute to uncovering the secrets of osteoarthritis in the future.”

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Defra extends applications to Zoo Animals Fund

News Story 1
 Defra has extended the deadline for applications for the 100 Million Zoo Animals Fund until 26 February 2021.

Launched in June 2020, the fund provides financial support for zoos and aquariums that have experienced a drop in income caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Grants of up to 730,000 are available, which can be used to pay for essential costs and maintenance, including veterinary care, medicines, animal feed and staffing.

More information about the fund and details of how to apply can be found here

Click here for more...
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APHA confirms eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has identified an eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry in England.

Confirmed on Tuesday (15 December), the outbreak was found in captive birds and poultry at a premises near Willington, South Derbyshire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been placed around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further information about the outbreaks and the latest government advice can be found at gov.uk