Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size

Artificial Joints May Soon Run Smoother

Nature's Secret Lubricant: Tiny 'Brushes' Fight Friction
WebMD Health News

Sept. 10, 2003 -- A biochemical breakthrough means that replacement joints soon may run a lot more smoothly -- and last a lot longer.

That would be good news for people with artificial hips, knees, and other joints who need expensive surgery when their bionic parts need replacement.

The news comes from the lab of Jacob Klein, PhD, of Israel's Weizmann Institute and England's Oxford University. Klein and colleagues report the finding in the Sept. 11 issue of Nature.

The researchers were studying friction between two surfaces rubbed together under water. To reduce the friction between the surfaces, they attached tiny "bristles" to each surface.

Each bristle is made of long organic molecules with a water-hating bottom half that sticks to the surface. The top half of each bristle is made of water-loving molecules with an electric charge. When two of these "hairbrush" surfaces are rubbed together in water, they repel each other. This makes for minimal friction.

Biological surfaces have similar electrical charges. Klein and colleagues suggest that their polymer brushes may not be new, after all. Mother Nature may already be using them for lubrication.

"Our findings may have implications for ... the design of lubricated surfaces in artificial implants," the researchers suggest.

Today on WebMD

Mature woman exercise at home
Hint: Warming up first is crucial.
feet with gout
Quiz yourself.
woman in pain
One idea? Eat fish to curb inflammation.
senior couple walking
Can you keep your RA from progressing?
xray of knees with osteoarthritis
close up of man wearing dress shoes
feet with gout
close up of red shoe in shoebox
two male hands
Woman massaging her neck
5 Lupus Risk Factors