How do I become an expert at nerve re-growth?
I'm 29 years old, and I'm an accountant. I sustained an injury and now, I can't walk. In an effort to take control of my future, I've been thinking of trying to become an expert in the field of neurogenesis, or nerve regrowth. Given advances in stem cells and nanotechnology, I was thinking that maybe in 10 years or so, I could fix myself. I guess I'm not content to just sit back and let others do it for me. I want to help myself. I can't just trust that other people will find the answer. I used to be incredibly smart at science, but I decided to do accounting because higher level math was always annoying to me, whereas accounting seemed simple enough. Also, there was a shortage of accountants, and I wasn't sure if I was guaranteed career prospects as a scientists. My question also entails the following question: is this a completely ridiculous idea? Am I just insane for thinking of trying to do this when I'm almost 30? Is 30 too old to try to become a scientists? I really don't want to take any non-science classes, because I've already taken enough general education classes. I just don't know if I can sit back (literally) until someone saves me. I think I need to try to save myself, if that makes sense. What is the most promising research area in this field? Do I need to learn about nanotech or electrical engineering or cellular biology?
- JOLv 41 decade agoFavorite Answer
It's not too late to become a scientist, and if you aim for graduate degrees you will only take science classes, not general education classes. Nerve regeneration is not my exact specialty, but I believe stem cell research has shown the most progress in nerve regrowth so far. The last I heard, a few years ago, researchers had reconnected the severed spinal chord of a frog. With recent limitations on stem cell research lifted, progress in this area should speed up.
To address your particular problem, I would suggest you concentrate on neurological development, stem cell technology, and perhaps biotechnology. Electrical engineering is too much of a mechanical macroscopic aproach to apply to a biological system. Nanotech may be useful, but you should start to approach the problem from a biological perspective.
Specifically, you may not even want to pursue a science degree if you just want to focus on fixing yourself. A formal program will have many requirements not exactly aimed at fixing your problem. I suggest you watch the movie Lorenzo's Oil, it's about a regular Joe who's son was diagnosed with ALS. Nerve damage is more complicated though. But if I were you, I would begin by picking up a book. Start reading everything you can. Begin with text books on neurology, then go to medical libraries and start searching journal articles until you know where the frontier of the science is. What is the state of the art?
Once you reach that point you will hit a wall. You will have ideas on what to do, you may even think you know how to cure, or fix, yourself, but you will not be able to do so. Here's why... it's expensive, you won't be able to afford the resources. People with the resources are MDs or MD/PhDs who have been training their whole lives to get a chance to do this work. They are publicly funded, and are somewhat forced to address issues that affect large populations.
I wish I could tell you how to get around the system, how to just figure out how to fix yourself and then do it. I've been trying to do similar things for the last decade, a lot of people are. You'll be competing with everyone for resources. Biological research isn't like theoretical physics, or math, or economics. Stephen Hawking was confined to a wheelchair and became a world expert by applying himself to his subject, but he could form postulates and thought experments and progress the science in his condition. But for biological research you will need resources, cell lines, mice, complete understanding, time, facilities, and the tools to work with these things. If you develope a way to turn astem cell into a nerve cell, how will you get it to the exact spot it needs to be, how will it incorporate into your system, how can you prevent your body from rejecting it?
You will end up losing yourself in a system where the amount of information, and possibility, far exceed the capacity to utilize the information. It will be amazingly frustrating.
But at least you've been warned. Now, all I can say is you only live once. Your condition is an opportunity to become the next Stephen Hawking, but only for nerve regeneration. Throw yourself at the problem and see what you can do.
In a more practical sense, I woud say get involved in research. Just work in a lab and learn how the work is done, see how you can get things done from the inside. How you can get around the system. Use academia, not necessarily to get a degree, but because it will give you access to the resources--the degree is secondary.
Good luck.Source(s): I work at UCLA medical school, and have worked in biotech for the last ten years doing research and translational science.
- 4 years ago
Like many other people said: the reason why people feel pain is to notice something is wrong and to stop whats happening before long term damage is done. Ex: If you touch a hot stove you feel the burn(lol pun intended) which is unpleasant so you stop touching it. If you were unable to feel the pain you can touch the stove for a long term resulting in serious burns. So if you deaden nerves in your shin if would be hard to gauge exactly how much pain and ultimately damage is being done to your legs. Take for example if you were able to deaden the nerves in your toes. It would be great for minor annoyances such as stubbing your toe against a table. It is painful but not really threatening. So if you condition to not feel that then that is great. However, if for some reason you kicked the table full force with your toe and did not feel any pain you may be unaware they you probably broke your toes. Some martial arts most notably thai boxers deaden their nerves. This just happens over time because they strike with the hard shin bone and over time of conditioning practically kicking banana trees for thai bags they deaden. This allows for them to kick hard without the pain a normal person would suffer. Also different ways people try to deaden their nerves can be harmful such as rolling a bottle on their shins or the misconception about kicking a tree to condition.
- 5 years ago
hard stuff. check out in yahoo or google. it can assist!