One of the major demands the world has always had is for newer, more effective medicine and treatments. Many new discoveries in medicine have lead to newer drugs and antibodies that will vastly improve people’s quality of life. Needless to say, there is both a global demand for an ability to create a better cure for diseases as well as many uncertainties about how some diseases work on a more detailed level.
There are many studies and areas of human medicine one could focus on and search for improvement over current standards, but one recent discovery in particular highlights potential on a relatively unexplored area of medicine. This is the folic acid discovery found that the “…vitamin folate appears to promote healing in damaged rat spinal cord tissue by triggering a change in DNA.”
Folic acid, folate’s synthetic form, has been used as a way to promote spinal injury in the past. However, it is just until recently that it was discovered that it was folate that was the source of the healing process. Nor was it recently known ‘how’ the folic acid worked, it was simply known that it had this effect and used accordingly. The folic acid study it is known that it works by a process of, “injured nerve tissue began producing surface receptors for folate…and then is absorbed into the nerve cell” which triggered the accelerated healing of the spinal cord.
The maximum effect of Folic acid on accelerating the healing process does have a limit, which is 80 micrograms folate per kilogram of body weight. After this point, the effectiveness of folic acid decreases but without causing toxicity or nerve damage. This is good, as it offers a method to make the body naturally accelerate its own healing process, with no harm beyond normal healing rates if too much is taken.
The major niche in this discovery is part of what could be a revolution of modern medicine, the discovering and application of epigenetics, which are “changing the functioning of DNA without changing the composition of genes.” Medicine previously would have to alter the genes to make the DNA function differently, so this newer way would pose much less risk to the taker than previous forms. Such discoveries puts mankind closer to “…exciting new prospects for understanding the origins of disease and for developing new treatments.”
This discovery puts the intake of Folate for someone injured at an amount higher than the recommended daily allowance. For a healthy person without a spinal injury, the U.S. RDA for folate is 400 micrograms per day. For a person weighing 75kg (165 pounds) and a spinal injury, the ideal intake of folate would be 6000 micrograms per day; 15 times the daily recommended amount.
With the ability to use such epigenetic knowledge to trigger the body to fix itself without foreign help, simply natural or synthetic triggers, medicine could become harmless if unnecessary and possibly more effective than those we possess now. One could make a fortune and add years onto the average lifespan of people around the world, promoting both the product and a healthier labor force to draw labor from. There will always be a need for cures to injuries to parts that like the spine, as well as the brain, kidneys, etc. which a different vitamin could trigger. Any cure or better method to heal currently permanent or chronic problems, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, would be worth billions of dollars for a daily supplement that can reverse and then prevent such horrible diseases. There would also be a fortune in being able to discover and map the different reactions of vitamins and synthetics to human genomes.