We are committed to active and productive elderly. That is why we are curious about the natural lubrication systems of our body, which when get impaired we device biomaterials which synergistically work with the impaired system to enduringly hydrate and lubricate the involved surfaces.

When simple activities like walking, running, bicycling, blinking, speaking, chewing and swallowing get difficult for the elderly due to disease, their quality of life suffers and they become inactive and less productive at work.
The diseases we focus on have no therapeutic treatments yet thus effective symptomatic treatment is the only tool available to maintain the quality of elderly life. 
Our main research interests are:

  • Salivary Lubrication: Hydration and lubrication enhancement in the oral cavity to help dry mouth patients.
  • Ocular Lubrication: Hydration and lubrication enhancement at the eyelid-cornea or eyelid-contact lens interface to help patients of dry eye disease.
  • Articular Lubrication: Enhancement of cartilage lubrication, stopping the progression of cartilage damage and its restoration to help early articular pain relief and postponement of arthroplasty. 
  • Coatings: Devising lubricant coatings e.g. for meniscus implants or cardiovascular and urinary catheters.
Relevance

How our research benefits to society

Globally the proportion of elderly in every country has never been higher. Ageing is correlated with an increase in ageing-associated acute diseases, but less highlighted are the chronic degenerative diseases, which are not fatal, but seriously affect the elderly’s daily activities and overall health-related quality of life. The non-fatal, the chronic diseases are often friction-related diseases  with no therapeutic treatment. Symptomatic treatments are in the form of artificial saliva, artificial tear and viscosupplementation fluid, which tries to hydrate and lubricate the relevant tissue interfaces. 

Multiple Cochran reviews have shown the lack of clinical efficacy of the existing symptomatic treatments. Thus research in our group focusses on learning from the nature to devise effective biomaterial based treatments such that the quality of elderly improves and the socio-economic burden of these diseases decreased through active and productive participation of elderly in the society.

Contact

Prashant Kumar Sharma
Prashant Kumar Sharma Associate professor

Department of Biomedical Engineering
University Medical Center Groningen
A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands