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"Keep the tip"
February 18, 2007 9:33 AM   Subscribe

"Up to about age 2, people can consistently regrow fingertips...." If you're older, try extract of pig-bladder. Or, if you don't mind the lupus, a Heber-Katz's Murphy Roths Large.
posted by orthogonality (11 comments total)

 
So if you use this stuff will the old tip of your finger still be waiting for you in heaven?
posted by DragonBoy at 9:44 AM on February 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


So you're saying we have a new emergency source of nutrition?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:07 AM on February 18, 2007


Whenever I read about severed fingers I can't help but recall a minister of my youth named the Rev. Stump. He was missing his left ring finger and I never could pay attention to his words once he started waving his hands around.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:25 AM on February 18, 2007


When I was six, and my sister two, I accidentally slammed our front door on her finger. The top was severed about halfway down the fingernail (oh the blood!). Anyway, the doctors, quite literally, scotch taped the tip back on. Within six weeks, it had reattached itself.
posted by waitingtoderail at 11:44 AM on February 18, 2007


SLoG, would you say you were not impressed by his Stump speech?
posted by greatgefilte at 11:44 AM on February 18, 2007


I recall a story told on NPR about Jimmy Hendrix's father. He was born with six fingers on both hands. His mother tied strings on those extra fingers and pulled them off. The fingers grew back.
posted by of strange foe at 11:58 AM on February 18, 2007


That's weird, of strange foe-- Hendrix played like he had a bunch of extra fingers. If you were born with an extra finger, could the part of your brain that controlled your hand have an extra bit to handle that finger, and, if that finger were removed, would that part of your brain then be reprogrammed to handle the ones you've got left, and so make them capable of extra-normal dexterities?

I wonder what's in those pig-bladder extracts, perhaps a growth factor which fits on some 'start dividing' cell receptor? You can certainly see why it might be nice to have some capacity to regenerate your bladder, particularly if you had the catholic tastes we stereotypically attribute to pigs, considering the amount of toxic stuff that must pass through. I understand that bladder cancer in humans is exceptionally resistant to treatment, which I thought was because bladder cells have toxin handling capacities that make them less vulnerable to chemotherapy, but it would be interesting if they turned out to be able to divide a bunch more times than cells from average tissue.
posted by jamjam at 1:03 PM on February 18, 2007


jamjam writes "Hendrix played like he had a bunch of extra fingers. If you were born with an extra finger, could the part of your brain that controlled your hand have an extra bit to handle that finger, and, if that finger were removed, would that part of your brain then be reprogrammed to handle the ones you've got left, and so make them capable of extra-normal dexterities?"

No, your brain probably wouldn't have extra bits, but yes, the motor area of brain can be re-allocated. In fact, a little as a few weeks' practice (as on a musical instrument) is sufficient to reallocate, studies have shown. What happens is that the motor area for one body part (e.g., a finger) takes over adjacent neurons formerly used to control other body parts (given the layout of the motor area, usually an adjacent finger).
posted by orthogonality at 1:15 PM on February 18, 2007


I cut a little chunk off the tip of my index finger when chopping onions earlier this year. It's almost imperceptible, but still, it'd be nice to be whole again. Time to go shopping for bladder!
posted by painquale at 3:25 PM on February 18, 2007


SawStop — The World's Safest Table Saw. How it works (with Hot Dog and Slow Motion Hot Dog demo videos):
In the table saw video demonstration below, we are cutting a sheet of plywood or particle board and place a hot dog in the path of the blade to simulate a user's finger. The SawStop system detects contact between the hot dog and the blade of the saw and stops the blade in approximately 5 milliseconds or less, resulting in only a small nick in the skin of the hot dog.
Sorry, cannibals and zombies, but there's no real finger demos.
posted by cenoxo at 11:34 PM on February 18, 2007


I love the serendipitous discoveries that are more important than what was being investigated. Our (scientists') arrogance in focusing so carefully on our theories is tempered by the realization that casual, unexplained observations bear more precious fruit so often.

Another, lesser example (that I was personally involved in) was the development of the automatic rate-adjusting cardiac pacemaker. A biomedical engineer and a veterinarian were testing a pacemaker that had a piezo-electric crystal bonded to the inside of its can implanted in a dog, in hopes of measuring the changing respiration rate, so that it could be used to adjust the pacemaker rate to accommodate it. The dog kept moving and generating "noise" on the crystal, so the vet kept trying to tighten the restraints on the dog to eliminate the noise. After an hour of this, the light finally turned on: the crystal was sensing the dogs motion, and this could be used to adjust the pacemaker rate to accommodate activity. And this technology is still used in activity sensing pacemakers.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:01 AM on February 19, 2007


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