When people think of health conditions that impose a big economic burden, they generally think of conditions like stroke or heart failure. But many may not realize that one of the most costly health conditions — on a par with stroke — is chronic nonhealing wounds. According to the journal Wounds, chronic nonhealing wounds cost…
I grew up in Connecticut and vividly remember visiting Acadia with my family as a child, watching the waves crash against the shore. With every ebb and flow I remember feeling a profound surge of power wash over me and thinking, There is something special about this place. I need to come back here.
One of the last places I would have expected to learn about art would be a biology lab, but when I had the opportunity to conduct research at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, I found myself not only at a research institute, but an art exhibit.
Certain organisms have remarkable abilities to achieve self-healing, and a fascinating example is the zebrafish (Danio rerio), a species of tropical freshwater fish that’s an increasingly popular model organism for biological research. When the fish’s spinal cord is severed, something remarkable happens that doesn’t occur in humans: supportive cells in the nervous system bridge the gap, allowing new nerve tissue to restore the spinal cord to full function within weeks. Pretty incredible, but how does this occur? NIH-funded researchers have just found an important clue.
Damage to vital organs, the spinal cord, or limbs can have an enormous impact on our ability to move, function – and even live. But imagine if you could restore these tissues back to their original condition and go on with life as normal.
Well, this is the dream for regenerative medicine. And while humans missed out on these abilities in the evolutionary lottery, a recent study in mice shows we’re making small progress to achieving this dream.
Many in the field of biomedical research have called for increased interaction between scientists and patients as a means of informing scientific research. I’ve recently had several opportunities to experience the benefits of interacting directly with patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy, the condition I study.
The concept of aging is undergoing a rapid transformation in medicine. The question has long been asked: Is aging a natural process that should be accepted as inevitable, or is it pathologic, a disease that should be prevented and treated? For the vast majority of medicine’s history, the former position was considered a self-evident truth. So futile was any attempt to resist the ravages of aging that the matter was relegated to works of fantasy and fiction. But today, the biomedical community is rethinking its answer to this quest.
Guest Post by Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
If you enjoy action movies, you can probably think of a superhero—maybe Wolverine?—who can lose a limb in battle, yet grow it right back and keep on going. But could regenerating a lost limb ever happen in real life?