Can we modify and refine human limbs?

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Offline thedoc

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Can we modify and refine human limbs?
« on: 15/07/2012 17:30:01 »
Skip Pennington  asked the Naked Scientists:
I am a frequent listener to the Naked Scientist portion of the Redi Tlhabi talk show podcast on iTunes.

Great show!

First, I am I am not planning on ever doing this, but...

If artificial limbs are curved to make them more effective, would it be possible to intentionally curve or modify human bones or limbs to make them more effective for performing certain task like running or lifting? If you did modify human limbs, would they grow back straight? Does the same science apply to plants and trees?


Skip Pennington
Birmingham, Alabama USA

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 15/07/2012 17:30:01 by _system »


Offline CliffordK

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Re: Can we modify and refine human limbs?
« Reply #1 on: 15/07/2012 19:48:41 »
Some cultures have practiced head binding to produce artificial cranial deformation.

Surgery is routinely performed to correct skeletal abnormalities including lengthening short bones, or straightening crooked bones.  Most of the growth occurs at the ends of the bones.  Setting them at odd angles in the middle would cause long-term abnormalities.

If one thought that a distance runner would benefit from lengthening the leg bones by a couple of inches, then technically it would be possible to do.

The shapes of trees can be modified by attaching wires and cables to the trunk and limbs to force them into the desired conformation.