Scientists are involved in many aspects of limb regeneration and what it would take for a human to regrow a new arm or leg as easily as the Axolotl makes it. However, one area of research for regenerating limbs that is not so often looked at is the electrical regime that exists throughout our bodies.
Limb regeneration is a scientific fact with the Axolotl and other species. If a salamander loses its leg it will simply regrow another. It has the ability to regenerate its spine, eyes, and also parts of its brain.
Newts are light years ahead of our biotechnologies when it comes to their amazing powers of regeneration.
I have written several articles on limb regeneration with electricity as its foundation for the regeneration of human body parts.
Electricity can stimulate muscle, bone regeneration and skin repair and it can offer better insights to tissue and bone regeneration.
It is often overlooked since scientists only look at the body as purely a biological and genetic computer. However, there is also an electrical engine that operates throughout the body.
Instead of seeing the body as an electrical power plant, there are a series of many electrical batteries that collectively operate as a whole, but each battery is responsible for the operation of each part of the body.
For instance, if we look at the organ that we see every day which is the skin, we know it is made up of different layers. These layers include the following:
- Epidermis: This is the outermost layer of the skin that we see and gives waterproof protection and generates our tone of the skin.
- Dermis: This exists underneath the epidermis and holds a tough connection of tissues, sweat glands, and hair follicles.
- Hypodermis: This is a deeper subcutaneous tissue and contains connective tissues and fat.
Now each of these layers will hold a certain electrical charge where the current will flow through the skin. However, if the skin experiences an injury that penetrates many levels deep then that electrical charge is blocked and the current will flow around the injury instead.
This electrical charge disruption is not a weakness but an important part of repairing the injury as it is integral to the regeneration of the skin.
The concept of using electricity as part of the healing process has been routine thinking for around a century.
Such as defibrillation which is a process of sending an electric shock to the heart to stop an arrhythmia using a device called a defibrillator, this results in the return of a productive heart rhythm.
Also electroconvulsive therapy for the purpose of treating extreme mental health disorders such as severe depression or mania.
In truth, there are many everyday uses where electricity is an integrated part of healthcare.
Human regeneration becomes difficult when different electrical stimulation is needed for different outcomes. This is because each separate tissue in the body has a voltage that is different.
When we experience an injury on the skin, it will regenerate to heal the wound.
In stark contrast, an amphibian will regenerate a while new limb that was lost. However, in humans the lost or damaged tissue will begin the process of regeneration but then the process known as fibrosis (or scarring) will take over.
As a consequence the regeneration process in a human is left incomplete.
All species in nature will share a certain amount of DNA that can offer identical characteristics.
For us humans, the regeneration process when a limb is lost is the same as what occurs in an amphibian, but then our own mammalian DNA will take over and the end result is the limb will not regrow but end up forming a stump.
The Medical Revolution
Is Axolotl-like limb regeneration in humans possible? The answer is yes.
As scientists specializing in this field of research say if salamanders can do it then so can humans.
One debate is that cell regeneration is more common when the cells themselves are young or infant.
If a young child loses the tip of the finger in an accident, the understandably immediate response is to find the severed fingertip, put it in an ice pack, and then have it reattached by the surgeon.
However, if the severed fingertip cannot be found or too badly damaged, then the recommended treatment where possible suggested by experts in this field of limb regeneration is not to do anything.
Instead, allow the young child’s fingertip to just regrow back without any medical intervention.
This means avoid stitching up the wound as this would prevent the young child’s fingertip from growing back naturally.
In this case, keeping the injury wet allows a flow of ions to continue and charged particles to flow around the edge of the wound and thus allowing the fingertip to regenerate fully.
Some specialists in digit regeneration research, criticize surgeons, where the fingertip cannot be reattached, as they may even amputate further of the bone and then stitch up the wound so the stump can heal.
However, I have read arguments from experts in this field that this is the wrong procedure and where a young child’s fingertip cannot be reattached then the best treatment is to allow the young child’s fingertip the opportunity to grow back naturally.
Since up until a certain age the fingertip will regenerate unless too much of the fingertip was lost below the nail.
You must always follow the advice of a healthcare professional with such an injury.
The bottom line in all of this, tissue and bone regeneration is possible in humans but it is a lot more sophisticated in axolotl creatures.
In the past, I discussed using concentrated oxygen blasts at the point of injury to stimulate bone regrowth.
The scientist Professor Sarah Cartmell, has been leading and writing up research on the study of bone and tissue regeneration. She is a Professor of Bioengineering and Head of the Department Of Materials at the University of Manchester.
One of her research interests is understanding the use of different electrical stimulating regimes that influence stem cell proliferation and differentiation for the objective of tissue engineering.
In her laboratory, she and her team have been able to regrow tissue that is then successfully implanted in the body of a patient that replaces or repairs the tissues that were damaged or lost.
This kind of work will eventually lead to allowing one day the regeneration abilities in humans that we see similar in salamanders.
For example, scientists including Prof. Cartmell, feel that within the next 20 years, surgeons will have many more options available when it comes to the types of materials to use.
Instead of using metal-on-plastic materials used on a replacement hip joint for someone needing a new hip, the patient would have a new hip based on biological tissues of the patient grown in the laboratory.
When it comes to artificial hip joints, they need replacing every 10 – 15 years.
However, for an aging population, this type of regenerative medicine using lab-grown human tissues would be really revolutionary.
If salamanders can do it then so can we.
It is smart to be cautious but it really is a time to be optimistic as it is not a question about if but of when regrowing of lost limbs and organs will be possible.
Every day there is some new exciting development in the field of regeneration that is being made.
I am very much enthusiastic about nanotechnology with cell regeneration and how this can be integrated into the field of human regeneration.
I will be going into more depth about this soon with the perspective of bioelectricity.