December 21, 2012

ENERGY CONSERVATION AND THE PUZZLE OF THE BODY’S HEALING RATE.

One of the fundamental puzzles is why wound healing proceeds so slowly when cells by themselves grow very quickly. For example, fibroblast cells, which play an important role in wound healing, can double in number just 10 hours when grown in a petridish in ideal conditions. That’s clearly much faster than wounds heal in the body; why the difference?

Today, Peter Apell at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and a couple of pals say they’ve worked out an answer using a rather unconventional approach. These guys study wound healing from the point of view of energy conservation. They ask what basic restrictions the laws of physics place on wound healing and what kind of insights this gives into an otherwise hugely complex process.

Interesting stuff.