The dreaded “hammy” is the tearing of the muscle or tendon fibers of the powerful hamstring muscles at the back of the leg. It’s dreaded because the pain is sharp, and the recovery can be long. Here is what’s known and what’s new:
Red is the color. So much depends on red. Healthy red blood is the essence of all tissues and even the determinant of the health of bone. I look at life through this prism and notice the shades suggestive of this injury or that disease. I read those signals to predict outcomes.
Classic blood doping—the injection of additional blood cells to increase oxygen in the muscle—is illegal in Olympic sports. Yet, legal blood doping is all the rage at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Here is how it works.
The natural lubricant of the human joint is called hyaluronic acid (HA). As part of a large, electrically-charged sugar molecule, HA permits water to be absorbed and released from the cartilage surface of the joints. This provides durability and compressibility. Without HA we would all grind to a halt.
What if we can learn to listen, understand, and respond to genetic communications? Could we have a genetic Fitbit and language translator? And, as gene editing techniques like CRISPR Cas-9 continue to become less expensive and more available, could we engage in a daily conversation with our personal genetic dictionary?
Stem cell-based therapies, in which the body’s own cells are stimulated to contribute to the repair process, are enormously promising in all areas of medicine, including articular cartilage regeneration. Yet our understanding of stem cells continues to evolve.
Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free…all these variations of diets originally designed to address irritable bowels are exploding—apparently, because people’s bowels are now explosive. Celiac, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and their relatives are being diagnosed more frequently than ever. As a society, Americans are becoming both more mindful and more stressed. Could these be linked through the gut?
Top skier breaks her leg. Doctor fixes it, gives her narcotics, and sends her home. She’s told to come back in two weeks for a checkup and have the rod taken out in a year. Doctor moves on to the next patient. What is wrong with this picture?