Skeletal Function and Form: Mechanobiology of Skeletal Development, Aging, and Regeneration

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The intimate relationship between form and function inherent in the design of animals is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the musculoskeletal system. In the bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscles of all vertebrates there is a graceful and efficient physical order. This book is about how function determines form. It addresses the role of mechanical factors in the development, adaptation, maintenance, ageing and repair of skeletal tissues. The authors refer to this process as mechanobiology and develop their theme within an evolutionary framework. They show how the normal development of skeletal tissues is influenced by mechanical stimulation beginning in the embryo and continuing throughout life into old age. They also show how degenerative disorders such as arthritis and osteoporosis are regulated by the same mechanical processes that influence development and growth. Skeletal Function and Form bridges important gaps among disciplines, providing a common ground for understanding, and will appeal to a wide audience of bioengineers, zoologists, anthropologists, palaeontologists and orthopaedists.