What's the Latest Development?
Any X-Men fan worth his or her salt knows that Wolverine's mutant power isn't his metallic claws, but rather his ability to heal from almost any injury instantaneously. The prospect of such rapid cellular regeneration has long fascinated scientists concerned with the healing process. "The observed fact that some animals—like the axolotyl, newts, and planarian worms—can regenerate their own tissues has long been held as an ancient capability that all animals might have buried deep within their DNA." Could learning about these animals' genomes allow us to activate regenerative properties in humans?
What's the Big Idea?
The photon energy in low-level laser light is currently known to aid in cellular regeneration, from regrowing lost hair to reversing the effects of arthritis, by increasing blood flow to the affected areas of the body. "The basic concept is that low level laser light penetrates mitochondria—our cellular powerhouses—deep within the injured tissues. The photons interact with the enzyme cytochrome C oxidase and this energy is then converted to chemical energy that our cells can use—ATP. The outcome is increased tissue blood flow and energy supply. Since the biggest issue with healing is a lack of blood flow in the tissue that you are hoping will heal, anything that can be done to increase blood flow will help with healing."
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