Monday, June 14, 2010

Broken Bone

I think the sentence "desensitized to violence" describes me to a tee. Because of a parade of violent movies when I was a kid most things just don't phase me at all. Though, there is something that I just don't want to see. That is a person breaking a bone. I don't know what it is about breaking bones, but they just creep me out.

Maybe it is just the thought of the person that broke the bone having to be laid up for a while with a cast on and recovering from the break. Well, thanks to a team lead by professor Nakamura Kozo from Tokyo university, maybe people will not have to be laid up so long healing from broken bones. Professor Nakamura found out that if a certain protein, named FGF-2(fibroblast growth factor), is increased the patient heals from the break faster. In some cases it was a much as 4 weeks faster.

This FGF-2 protein was tested in 48 hospitals from 2006 to 2008. 71 patients with broken tibias were separated into two groups. In one of the groups the patients were injected with FGF-2 and in the other group the patients were injected with gelatin. The group with the FGF-2 protein injection healed in about 14 weeks while they one without the injection healed in about 18 weeks.

As an interesting side-note, the FGF-2 protein is produced by genetically engineered Escherichia coli bacteria. That name probably looks familiar because it is the longer name for the infamous E. coli. E. coli is actually used to make a lot of things because it is something we know how to handle. I love when science takes something people don't like and use it for good.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 骨(ほね). It is pronounced hone and it means bone. I have never broken a bone, but I have had some bad things happen with the tendons in my leg. It wasn't fun.

See you next time at JJNN!

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