Research is beginning to dispel some of the mysteries surrounding the human body, particularly how the body regenerates tissue. In the early 1990s, scientists discovered small sections of RNA called microRNA or miRNA. This discovery allowed them to see more precisely how DNA functions in our bodies and the role these tiny molecules play in the process of regeneration of tissue.
The complex structure of ligaments and tendons that support our joints provides stability. They are composed of collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. Their tough, collagenous structure give the joint strength. This structure, however, also causes these tissues to have poor blood supply, making the joint prone to chronic conditions.
As we age, chronic injuries, along with normal wear and tear on our joints, often lead to arthritis. The smooth articular cartilage between the joints that cushions and protects begins to wear down, causing bones to rub against each other. Bone spurs often develop. The resulting friction leads to pain and swelling. This chronic inflammation results in arthritis and further degeneration of tissue.
Renaissance means rebirth or regeneration. Every few generations medicine takes a major turn. We’re at one of those junctures now with regenerative medicine — where healing is triggered from within the human body. It’s bringing a whole new universe to how physicians provide care.