Even though I’m not a fan of spiders, they are an amazing insect with their ability to create a multipurpose web. Not only does it work to protect them and their eggs, it also ensnares their prey with its sticky silk, which is produced from spinneret glands on their abdomen.
Some spiders spin webs strong enough to be used for fishing, such as the golden orb-weaver spider from Tanzania. Their silk is more tear-resistant than nylon and four times more elastic than steel, and is stable in heat to over 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Their silk threads are also extremely waterproof and have antibacterial properties. Because of all these attributes, it has become an source of interest with the biomedical research industry, as shown in the following post with a quote from Christine Radtke, Professor for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at MedUni Vienna General Hospital:
Repairing damaged nerves, tissue, with spider threads
There is currently a great need for such techniques in plastic and reconstructive surgery, especially for so-called extensive nerve injuries of more than 5 cm in length in the peripheral nervous system — for example following a serious accident or after tumour resection. Apart from limited nerve grafts, doctors have only been able to use synthetic conduits (interposition graft), to reconnect severed nerves so that the nerve fibres can grow back together. “However, this only really works well over short distances of up to 4 cm, at most,” explains Radtke.
Read the full post here: Repairing damaged nerves, tissue, with spider threads
Nerve injuries are one of the most debilitating because of how complex and specialized the nervous system is, making it tough to repair itself. Science has made huge strides toward helping improve how the body heals, but the central nervous system (CNS) is still a bit of a mystery.
Even though there are really no sure-fire methods for repairing nerve damage, there is ongoing research with the above-mentioned spider threads, with stem cell treatment and utilizing 3D printing as a guide for regrowth of peripheral nerves.
The idea that people with spinal cord injuries could have a chance to walk again is part of the goal of these experiments. As of 2010, there are approximately 5.6 million people in the world who have some sort of paralysis due to a spinal cord injury, which equates to about 1 in every 50 people in America. (Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation)
This video explains why repairing nerve damage is so difficult:
Your nervous system is involved with every movement you make. Because of this, there are more than 100 different types of nerve damage, which all have different symptoms and require various types of treatment.
One example of this is peripheral neuropathy, which causes weakness, numbness and pain in areas like the hands and feet. In fact, it’s estimated that about 20 million Americans suffers from peripheral nerve damage.
This type of damage becomes increasingly common with age, with up to 70% of people with diabetes having some peripheral neuropathy. Potential treatments are discussed in the following excerpt:
Nerve Pain and Nerve Damage – WebMD: Neurological Symptoms
In many instances, nerve damage cannot be cured entirely. But there are various treatments that can reduce your symptoms. Because nerve damage is often progressive, it is important to consult with a doctor when you first notice symptoms. That way you can reduce the likelihood of permanent damage.
Often, the first goal of treatment is to address the underlying condition that’s causing your nerve pain or nerve damage. This may mean:
- Regulating blood sugar levels for people with diabetes
- Correcting nutritional deficiencies
- Changing medications when drugs are causing nerve damage
- Physical therapy or surgery to address compression or trauma to nerves
- Medications to treat autoimmune conditions
Find out more here: Nerve Pain and Nerve Damage – WebMD: Neurological Symptoms
With cosmetic procedures, California plastic surgeons understand that invasive surgeries do occasionally cause some peripheral nerve damage. Although uncommon, there are management strategies for inadvertent injury to peripheral nerves of the face.
Because of the ongoing research being done, hopefully we will soon be able to reverse nerve damage and its potentially devastating effects.