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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The health benefits of a ‘gentle’ finger-licking procedure

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Dr. Muhammad Sajjad Masud is an orthopedic surgeon at Queen Victoria Hospital in Bethnal Green, London. It’s he who, between 9 and 11:30 p.m., takes a cotton ball and peels it with his bare hands. He then runs it through a microscope to reveal tiny scales, which are part of a complex man-made tendon called a tabal ligament.

Dr. Masud believes that shedding a cotton ball at night, like our African ancestors used to do, helps the growing muscles in our limbs.

As it grows, the tendon has to break down the repetitive motions of bending the leg. To do that, it needs to expand, as it is made to grow and contract. With a cotton ball, then, the ligament is trying to grow, and in the process it will break down or swell — much like a crowded toilet bowl. “With anesthesia, it takes weeks to find out the full extent of damage,” he says.

If it doesn’t need any growth, then the tissue will stay in good shape, but if it does need growth, then it will need help in two ways: first, to remove existing growth. But even if it stops getting growth from the fibrous tissues that surround the ligament, then that growth must be removed from the margin above the ligament, just beneath the outer edge of the muscle. It’s called a “demineralization area.”

“It’s like when you clean your inner thighs,” he says.

The second part of the exercise is what gets the blood flowing — the extraction of the growth from the zone above the inner thigh where the tissue is, and where that tissue can only grow if it has oxygen and nutrients.

“It must be frequently cleaned and taken out,” he says. “Your body is spending 90 percent of its energy cleaning that area.”

It must also be regularly replenished, and these two actions help the body repair the injured tissue.

More modern genetic techniques are used to analyze if this manipulation is necessary. Scientists using this technique can determine whether the tissue surrounding the area has a healthy a division (a bunch of cells will divide, multiplying) or one dividing as well (a bunch of cells will contract).

“By working with blood and flow, and finding out if these tissues grow as a team, or if they separate and don’t grow together,” Dr. Masud explains, “you can judge the area’s health, and find out if it’s damaged enough to require treatment.”

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