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Hibernating bears' wounds heal without scars - Comments

Crimbly's Avatar Comment 1 by Crimbly

This just in: animals don't build hospitals, have no doctors, have propagated for millions of years. Scientists astounded.

More seriously though, this bears investigating.

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 21:48:54 UTC | #928750

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 2 by aroundtown

This is interesting. You would think the tissue would not be as oxygenated due to the slower respiration and metabolism and hinder faster or improved healing but this article suggests the exact opposite in that the tissue benefits from the hibernation state.

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 21:49:26 UTC | #928751

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 3 by aquilacane

If I gave two teams the same task but one team had to complete the task in the shortest time possible, in an environment with massive demand for limited resources all while being over worked with other projects and the other team has all the time in the world, in an environment with low resource demand and no other projects to worry about, I better get gems from team B.

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 22:54:03 UTC | #928765

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 4 by Neodarwinian

" We consider this to have implications for medical research."

Genetic research also. Will there be bear genes in the human future?

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 00:19:43 UTC | #928785

Sample's Avatar Comment 5 by Sample

The title is false but the abstract in the publishing journal is certainly interesting.

And the almost standard coda of "possible applications for human medicine" is 100% meaningless fluff without a hypothesis as to mechanism of action.

But really, I liked the article. :-j

Mike

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 02:19:55 UTC | #928811

njwong's Avatar Comment 6 by njwong

Just hope the investigation doesn't lead to the conclusion that the bears' healing powers come from the bear's bile. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the bile of the bear can cure "trauma, sprains, fractures, hemorrhoids, conjunctivitis, severe hepatitis, high fever, convulsions, and delirium". I think there is a need to prevent bear bile farmers from justifying their "barbaric" practice of caging bears simply to extract their bile:

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/asian-bear-bile-remedies-barbarism-or-medicine/

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 07:01:09 UTC | #928850

cheesedoff17's Avatar Comment 7 by cheesedoff17

"When we revisited them in their dens" ! They make it sound so easy, like dropping in for a chat!

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 09:12:03 UTC | #928878

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 8 by DocWebster

Isn't this why doctors induce coma in critical cases??

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 15:23:28 UTC | #928977

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 9 by alaskansee

@Comment 1 by Crimbly

This just in; everyone knows animals don't have hospitals but we don't know all about their mechnisms for healing or how it might benefit us. I live in bear country and this is news to me although crocodiles are famous for their ability to heal significant wounds who could have imagined that hibernation might help bears?

I couldn't.

More seriously though this is important research that is counter intuitive, should we have asked you? Maybe the answer could have been that they heal slower. Again important, especially when we have some understanding of the mechanism.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 00:17:13 UTC | #929133

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 10 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 06:31:00 UTC | #929211

Pete H's Avatar Comment 11 by Pete H

The relevance of bear hibernation to “malnourished, hypothermic, diabetic and elderly patients” is ridiculous.

Real science attempts to control the variables. So what would be required is a comparison with “malnourished, hypothermic, diabetic and elderly” bears. Not with humans. Why wouldn't bears be just as prone to unsurprising healing disabilities as humans if the bears were similarly nutritionally stressed and preferred physically dysfunctional states. The key difference is that afflicted bears couldn't survive in the wild, owing to the lack of government welfare programs for physically and mentally ill and elderly bears. So the bears are compelled to do something to compensate: like working very hard to catch food, keeping fit, and avoiding smoking, drinking, TV, and poker machines.

Scientific evidence for this theory is the very low numbers of wild bears observed in clubs smoking cigarettes, watching sport on TV, getting drunk and losing their pensions on the poker machines. Bears are smarter than the average human.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 10:41:35 UTC | #929234

PERSON's Avatar Comment 12 by PERSON

keeping fit, and avoiding smoking, drinking, TV, and poker machines.

Bears avoid none of thoe things. They aren't available to them. Even if they were, they would have different susceptibilities, and there is no incentive for their exploitation as they don't control resources that could be extracted from them, something true of humans whether there is welfare or not. That said, bears and other animals do consume alcohol when they find it, e.g. in naturally fermented fruit. Monkeys will smoke if you let them. Dogs and cats will watch TV.

We could all do with more exercise, but similarly an absence of a welfare state or regulation of employment conditions doesn't facilitate that.

Suggesting there are valid and relevant comparisons between bears in a low metabolic state and humans in a low metabolic state is not ridiculous. It may not be correct, but it's not entirely silly either.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 14:31:04 UTC | #929285

Sue Blue's Avatar Comment 13 by Sue Blue

This is very interesting, and as a nurse, anything that could help combat tissue breakdown in bed-bound and elderly patients is good news to me - but one of the things I've always wondered about bears is how they burn fat instead of muscle during hibernation. Bears lose massive amounts of weight while fasting in their reduced metabolic state, yet the lost weight is all stored fat. Fasting humans lose muscle long before beginning to burn fat. Knowing how bears do this could be useful in helping humans who are morbidly obese.

Sat, 12 May 2012 15:33:42 UTC | #941192