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Human Regrowth

In the future people will be able to regrow missing arms or legs like a salamander can grow a new tail. Research has shown promising results in getting bone to grow with the application of electricity. Scientists made an amazing discovery. When a salamander, who can regrow a missing limb, suffers an amputation, they measured a small negative charge at the stump. Examining frogs, who cannot regenerate limbs, they discovered a similar electrical charge, but it was positive. So, applying an artificial negative charge was the obvious thing to try. Early results indicate that this may instigate regeneration.

This reminds me of another scientific study involving frogs, this one similarly cruel. A scientist measured how far a frog could jump. He yelled ‘Jump!’ and the frog jumped 100 centimeters. The scientist then cut off one of the frog’s legs, then yelled again, ‘Frog, jump!” The frog was able to jump only 30 centimeters. Cutting off another leg, the scientist again yelled, and the frog jumped only 10 centimeters. With one leg the frog was able to jump only 3 centimeters. When the scientist cut off the last leg, and yelled, ‘Jump!’ Nothing happened. The frog didn’t move. The scientist then wrote in his notes, “Frog with no legs can’t hear.”

In a more serious study, a scientist was anesthetizing salamanders and cutting their hearts out to extract an enzyme. He’d then throw the salamanders without hearts into a waste basket. Salamanders have a remarkable power of regeneration, and can also reduce their metabolism to very low states when necessary. One Monday morning he came into the lab and found a salamander trying to crawl out of the waste basket. Over the weekend, the little critter had grown a small, beating heart to replace the one that had been removed.

With children under age five who lose the tip of a finger up to halfway to the outermost joint, if left untreated, the finger will regrow completely. If medical attention is applied, stitches for example, the child’s finger will not regrow.

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