Thursday, March 19, 2015

An Introduction to Synthetic Cartilage

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Frauens served the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Honolulu, Hawaii, as chief of the department of orthopedic surgery for six years and director of adult reconstructive surgery for 26 years. Dr. John Frauens now leads as founder of SoftJoint, Inc., which has developed a new synthetic cartilage for joint care.

Because human cartilage lacks the ability to heal itself efficiently, patients with cartilage damage or degeneration frequently need surgical intervention. Traditionally, interventions have taken the form of growth stimulation, which requires the surgeon to make holes in the bone that stimulate the growth of new cartilage tissue. However, researchers in recent years have made great strides in the development of materials that take the place of cartilage without the need to wait for new growth.

Artificial cartilage must be smooth enough to cushion the joints that it protects, while also being strong enough to bear the load of a human body. Ideally, the material will also encourage the growth of new cells to further strengthen the area. Advances to date have taken the form of a three-dimensional fabric matrix, which interweaves very thin fibers to create a scaffolded matrix. Recent developments of durable hydrogels, which are tough yet have a low coefficient of friction, are proving promising as a potential material to fill in this matrix and do the job of a patient's natural cartilage.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Nonprofit Common Grace Works with Children in At-risk Situations

Since 2011, Dr. John Frauens has volunteered his time as an orthopedic consultant for the Corrections Division of the State of Hawaii Department of Public Safety. Based in Honolulu, he provides orthopedic consultations to inmates throughout the state. Dr. John Frauens also sits on the board of directors for Common Grace, which pairs grade schools with nearby Christian churches to mentor children who are considered highly vulnerable.

Common Grace is a nonprofit organization that currently serves 21 elementary schools and about 150 students throughout the state of Hawaii. The children served by the organization face challenges, such as incarcerated parents and homelessness. Mentors meet with students identified by the program at the child’s school one hour once per week. Supported by the State of Hawaii’s Department of Education Superintendent, the organization received accolades in 2007 with a Partnership in Education Award.

In February 2015, Common Grace reported that one of the local churches branched out beyond its Common Grace partnership to begin offering a Parachute Club, which meets outside of school. Adult volunteers assisted with the gathering, which demonstrated new heights of community involvement for the church. While at the City Church, children enjoyed a Chinese noodle dinner, sang religious songs, and enjoyed a skit about David and Goliath. Common Grace wholeheartedly supported the church's outreach efforts in its write-up of the event.