POSITRACTION: Yet another demonstration about how little humans “know”




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This week’s video is a perfect storm of weird and wonderful, all squashed into a very matter-of-fact science explainer. There’s a dose of odd science in the form of an almost mythical-sounding procedure. It has helped researchers identify a previously unknown structure of the human body, just when we thought we knew everything there was to know.

This discovery, in turn, holds hope for the improved treatment of a widespread disease and an often fatal medical event. As a weird bonus, it also explains a mystery of combat surgery. And did we mention that indispensable pinch of cinnamon?

In an effort to understand how white blood cells move from the bone marrow — where they’re made — to sites of infection and injury in the body, scientists decided to study the arteries and veins known to reside within the spongy interior of bones. The team, from the Institute for Experimental Immunology and Imaging at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, found more than they were bargaining for.

“Bones need a closed circulatory loop (CCL) to function properly,” said Dr. Anika Grüneboom from the University Hospital in Erlangen, the main author of the study. “This CCL delivers fresh blood via arteries into the bone and transports used blood out via veins. How exactly the CCL …  functions was not totally clear — until now.”

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TCVs have also been found in the skull — where they connect directly to the surface of the brain. A team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University stained a kind of immune cell called a neutrophil, and watched it use TCVs to travel into the body.

Understanding how these immune cells travel through the TCV network could help treat stroke patients, and ease the symptoms of inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

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Sure, we humans like to think we’re smart and know a lot of “stuff”, but every so often we learn a basic fact that demonstrates that we don’t know squat.

Now how these TCVs can be exploit for the benefit of humanity remains to be seen.

I wonder what else we don’t know.  Seems like pane four of the JoHari window is a lot bigger than we realize. 

We don’t know what we don’t know.  Never mind that also we don’t know how much of what we do know is wrong.


Let’s get going to correct this.  Starting with some humility and awe might be in order.

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