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Advisory Committee Chair

Alan W Eberhardt

Advisory Committee Members

Shawn R Gilbert

Jack E Lemons

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2016

Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (MSBME) School of Engineering

Abstract

Obesity, associated with a number of deleterious health factors, is becoming more common around the world. It has long been thought that obesity affects mechanical properties local to the physis, but no exact relationships have been pinpointed. We have employed shear testing to assess shear forces to fracture and fracture patterns, as well as stress-relaxation indentation testing to assess the properties of distal physeal cartilage in diet-induced obesity in a rat model. The results suggest that a high-fat diet results in a weaker, less flexible, and more brittle physeal structure in shear. The focus of the present work pertains to pediatric cases of Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) and Blount’s Disease, two cases in which obesity is thought to affect skeletal growth, as well as cases of severe injury associated with blunt trauma. The findings of this study suggest that regulatory and metabolic changes associated with high-fat diets, particularly in the physeal cartilage, may play a more significant role in the development of physeal fractures than previously thought.

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