It used to be that if you suffered a serious bone injury (or bone loss), a doctor would replace or augment a portion of your skeleton with metal. Now scientists in Italy have discovered that by heating rattan wood (which is often used to make furniture) under pressure in a furnace for 10 days, the wood can be transformed into an amazing bone substitute-one that, according to Inhabitat, "allows blood, nerves, and other compounds to travel through it." From the Inhabitat post:
Studies in which surgeons have placed the bone substitute into sheep, and so far the results show great promise. The bone begins to fuse with the sheep's bone and after some time, it's impossible to even see where the two are joined. And unlike other bone substitutes like metals and ceramics, this new material is just as strong and will most likely never need to be replaced. The researchers plan to start using this new material within 5 years on humans and have great hope that a natural, cheap and effective replacement for bones is now possible.Screenshot photo via BBC News.