Lost a finger? Just grow it back…

That’s what’s being suggested by this new procedure being tried out by the military using a special powder developed to trick the bodies stem cells to start building tissue that is missing. The article also reports the researchers stating that if this works it could eventually be used to replace more complex organs that people might need replaced:

One day, he hopes, people with heart trouble will be told, “That’s OK. We will just grow you another one.

While I think the prospects of this are pretty cool. I couldn’t help thinking as I read the article: Let’s say this does work out great and there are no harmful side effects – Let’s say that this solves the problem in today’s society with not enough donor organs for people waiting for transplants -Let’s say this makes it possible for people who have lost organs/limbs due to disease or disaster get them back – truly that would be absolutely amazing and would be beneficial for so many people BUT think about some other consequences of this (not necessarily bad consequences but just things I got thinking about…)

  • would people take more risks knowing that if anything happened to their body it could be replaced?
  • would recklessness rise to new levels in society?
  • would the trend towards health consciousness in our society start to reverse when people realize that their body parts are “disposable” and “replaceable”
  • would a new market open up in the cosmetic field for ‘customized body parts?’ (albeit this thought is a big stretch from what this article talks about…still…)

Just a few thoughts that entered my mind. Don’t get me wrong – obviously this would be a great medical breakthrough for those who could use it now. I just got thinking. Take antibiotics for example. For years known as the “cure” for infections, people would go to the doctor with a cough – and get prescribed an antibiotic – you could have the slightest symptoms (or discomfort) and you would get an antibiotic. Today, most antibiotics don’t work. The best way to avoid “catching something” is the same as it has always been, wash your hands, stay clean, avoid the sick.

Ultimately, this is the question going through my mind – if limb and organ replacement became this simple would it make things better in the long run?

  1. Interesting comments. We DO tend to take for granted whatever we think is replaceable or infinitely available – whether it be oil or body parts.

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