The miracle in bones that do not dissolve

If living beings do no use their bones, meaning their feet and hands, the bones in these  limbs begin to dissolve, a process known as osteoporosis. Under normal conditions, this situation occurs in living beings that go into hibernation. However, research on black bears has uncovered the existence of a system that protects these animals against bone degeneration during their long periods of hibernation in winter. At the same time, this research has become an inspiration for new methods in the treatment of people with loss of bone cells due to lack of physical activity or old age.

Scientists under the leadership of Seth Donahue, from the Michigan Technological University, located in Houghton, Michigan, observed the bone development of the black bear species (Ursus americanus), which do not suffer bone loss during their winter sleep that lasts for three to five months. (Seth Donahue et. al, “Bone formation is not impaired by hibernation (disuse) in black bears [Ursus americanus]” The Journal of Experimental Biology, 1 December 2003, vol 206, p. 4233) Researchers focused on the openings and closings in the genes which regulate the bone metabolism of five separate bears. Donahue and his colleagues, in the end, found that bone production in bears is stable and it can even reach to a peak with the bears becoming active again. The research also showed that there is no weakening or thinning in the bone density of bears due to old age.

This efficient system seen in bears during hibernation is not the first. In a research published by Nature magazine in the year 2001, the studies on bears of the same species showed that bears suffered less muscle loss (atrophication) in comparison to other living beings, during their winter sleep. (Henry J. Harlow et. al., "Muscle strength in overwintering bears" Nature, 22 February 2001, p. 997) Scientists who examined the bears for four years calculated that bears lost only 22% of their muscle power and 10-15% of proteins at the end of their winter sleep of five months. In striking contrast, a person who spends  the same amount of time bedridden is predicted to lose 85% of muscle power and 90% of proteins.

Scientists note that the calcium that is in the bears’ bodies, and that forms the basic element of their bones has a very efficient cycle of transformation and that their bones are protected thanks to this system. The next target of Donahue and his team is to compare the structures of the two hormones used in bone production in bears and human beings respectively, and then attempt to develop new methods for bone treatment.

A bear’s weight is in the  hundreds of kilograms. The bones inside the body of a bear that stays motionless for months is under such a high amount of stress, and additionally the muscles made up of softer tissues that touch the surface of the floor carries even more weight.

Research conducted on black bears uncovered the existence of a system that protects these creatures against bone degeneration during hibernation that lasts for months. This study is also an inspiration for new methods for the treatment of people who suffer loss of bone cells due to lack of physical activity, and potentially for treatment of the loss of bone density which naturally occurs in humans with advanced age.

What Happens to a Person Who Stays in Bed For the Same Amount of Time?

In terms of this, paralyzed people at the hospital are greatly in need of care. Nurses move them throughout the day and ensure that their body weight is diffused to different parts of their body in order to prevent the bruises that may occur. While a person cannot stay motionless for even a single day, the fact that a bear, tens of times heavier than any man can sleep without eating or drinking for weeks and months, and yet suffer any illnesses of bones and muscles, is truly a miracle.

There is a system that automatically provides the care nurses and doctors provide for a paralyzed patient to bears. While bone cells process functions in a way to use calcium as efficiently as possible, the same metabolism of the bear keeps muscle loss at very low levels.

Muscle loss is a condition that may be unavoidable and can be lethal for people who suffer from malnutrition. The swelling in the bellies of children who suffer from malnutrition is the result of water accumulation due to muscle fragmentation inside their bodies with the fat tissues having been already depleted. But there is no such fluid  accumulation in the bodies of these animals, and so bears are saved from such a situation that can so easily prove fatal to humans.


Questions Waiting for an Answer:

So how could the bear’s muscle and bone cells achieve such complex arrangements? How could these cells, which have no ability to think, hold the movement of calcium inside and outside the membrane in so conscious an arrangement? How does the muscle degeneration suffered by starving people not affect bears, despite their hunger that lasts for months?

Of course, this consciousness observed in cells does not belong to molecules that form the cells. Atoms like oxygen, carbon and nitrogen do not understand the bears’ needs and cannot plan such arrangements. In this situation, it is obvious that the consciousness in cells belongs to a being with a superior intelligence. There is no doubt that Almighty Allah, Lord of the worlds, is the One Who creates this living being out of nothingness, and Who grants them the metabolisms necessary to take care of them during their long winter sleep. Allah reveals in one verse of the Quran:


“Does He who created not then know? He is the All-Pervading, the All-Aware.” (Surat al-Mulk, 14)

2011-06-05 14:40:09

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